I follow a lot of other pastors and leaders on the internet every week and quite often I come across things that really challenge me. Chuck Lawless is one that I began following more recently and I’ve been encouraged and challenged by him already. Today, he listed twelve things we can watch and listen for at church this weekend. He writes:
“For most of us, attending church is a habit. We leave home near the same time each week. We park in the same area, go in the same door, sit in the same place, and talk to the same people. Then, we usually go to the same restaurants for lunch. We expect nothing different, and we see and hear nothing different. That’s too bad because sometimes we miss what God’s doing around us.”
I love this because I find that when I stop to spell the proverbial roses, I notice things that are really important. Here are a couple of my favorites from his list:
1. If you’re married, watch and listen to your family as you get ready for church. If they’re stressed before church ever starts, that’s not a good start to the day. You be the peacemaker, the calm one, the prayer warrior, the encourager before you ever get in the car.
8. Watch for anyone standing to lead. That person may be a teacher, a singer, a musician, a pastor, or any other leader. As soon as you see someone standing before you, take a minute to pray for that person.
11. Listen to your heart as you hear the Word. Hear the Word when it calls you to change, and listen to your heart. Be aware when you try to fight against what you hear – that might be your heart in rebellion.
Hebrews 10:24-25 encourages us to “…let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Chuck’s list hits on a number of spheres where we need to make sure we’re worshipping the Lord. Keep in mind that worship doesn’t begin once the music of the church service starts. Worship begins when you go to bed at night preparing for the day ahead.
It’s important that we always be on mission and leading our families to do the same. We don’t just attend church…we are the church.
My encouragement to you today is to read through Chuck’s list. And then take some time today or tomorrow to think about how you can make sure you’re giving glory to God and being a participant in the gathering of God’s people.