Bill Campbell

Thoughts of Life and Ministry

THE MISSING INGREDIENT?

A frequent concern I hear from church folks is that public worship experiences today are disappointing. Depressing. A drag. For much of what goes on in Sunday services, I’m told, is highly predictable, lacks interest, and offers the worshiper little satisfaction and fulfillment.

This disappointing response to public worship may indeed be due to the nature of the services. That’s always a possibility. A strong possibility. But there’s another reason, often overlooked, for the disappointment. Simply stated, the disappointment may be due to the spiritual attitude and condition of the worshiper.

I’m discovering that many who attend public worship today do so for various reasons. Here are a few of them.

  • One reason is that the church goer is in the mood to attend church. I’m saying there are days when church worshipers will openly acknowledge that they should have stayed home in bed.
  •  A second reason why persons say they attend church is because of habit or tradition. Sunday for these persons is church day. Other days of the week are for other activities.
  • Reason number three relates to one’s spouse or family members. If a member of the family expresses a deep interest in attending church on a particular Sunday, that becomes the reason for going.
  • Another reason for attending church is to be entertained. They want their attendance to be worthwhile. It’s viewed as being like going to a movie or sporting event.
  • A final reason for attending Sunday worship is connected with fear. If the person fails to attend church on Sunday, he or she is afraid of being placed on God’s black list. Some congregations will even use the guilt factor to motivate individuals to attend Sunday worship.

Let me move my thinking toward what I believe is the ever growing missing ingredient in congregational  worship. In other words, why there’s such a bevy of mixed and confusing reasons and motivations for attending church.

Scripture’s major theme, I’m convinced, is glorifying and praising God. This suggests worship is an act of giving, and is not to be an attempt to get something. A worshiper isn’t attending church for any other reason than for ascribing praise and glory to the One who has delivered him or her from the curse and penalty of sin.

What would happen today in congregations if worshipers were there to give to God in place of attempting to receive something from Him? If worship was an expression of giving love and praise, and not just done out of some form of religious duty? It would definitely remove the temptation to appease God through  attempting to earn points of merit and popularity with Him?

Are you following the train of thought followed here? If so, are you open to being changed by the biblical understanding of worship? I’m endeavoring to point out for the reader that fulfilling worship, whether public or private, will necessitate a deep and growing daily relationship with God on the part of the believer.

Now allow me to be a bit more personal and direct. Is this ingredient missing in your own worship experience? Is it missing in the worship experience of your congregation?

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September 7, 2013 Posted by | Celebration, Christ, Christian Life, Church, Church and Family, Church and Ministry, Church Growth, Church Health, Church Leadership, Church Unity, Coaching, Discipleship, God, Relationships, Salvation, Scripture, Spirituality | Leave a comment