Archive for April, 2011

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another. — Hebrews 10:24-25

We’ve had the privilege and honor of welcoming new members to St. Mark UMC over these past two Sundays!  New members joined the church in all three of our worship services.  What an incredible blessing!  Over the next month, we’ll have even more who will join this church.

Each time that Barrett and I bring up new members, we ask them two questions.  First, we ask if they affirm that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior.  Then, we ask, will you support the church with your “prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness?”  Each time a new member joins, we are reminded of our own covenant of membership.  Membership is just that, a covenant, made with God and God never breaks the covenant.

Another image hit me at TRANSFORM 2011, an event sponsored by St. Mark’s UMYF.  People, from all over Greenwood, were crowded into the coffee bar area at Rivers Street, waiting for the doors to the Worship Center to open.  They came early and they stood in line.  They were anticipating Transform 2011 and the appearance of musician Casey Darnell.  They were looking for something special to happen and they had a blast!  What an incredible night for our church, our community and for our youth.

But it seems that it’s all too easy to have a disconnect between the vow of membership and the anticipation of what is going to happen in worship.  Worship IS the primary activity that the church is called to do.  We are a worshipping body, in love with God, and we share that love with others.  Worship is the thing that sets the church apart from every other group in the world that meets.  It’s simply what we do!

But, yeah, I know. I’ve heard it all before.  I’m just too busy. It was a long week.  I got home late Saturday. I had other things to do. I needed some more “family” time. I don’t have to be in a church to worship.  It’s boring.

I heard a pastor (his name is Barrett) once say that if you are bored in worship, “It’s not my fault!” Worship isn’t about getting something.  Sure, it’s great to hear good music, engaging sermons and to be in a loving and welcoming environment.  But, it all starts with us giving praise, even in the hard times of our lives, to a God who loves us unconditionally.

I’ve had to rethink this in my own life.  There was once a time in my life when I was out of worship for an extended period of time.  It was probably one of the most disconnected and empty periods of my life.

So I ask myself some questions to help me stay grounded.   Do I treat the worship service of the church as THE event in my week?  Do I go to worship with the expectation that something amazing is going to happen, or do I just go?  Are there other things, even things that sound great on the surface, that I try to elevate above the central act of worshipping and praising God?

I’ll see you in worship this week.  Come early, come ready, and come fully expecting that God is going to do something amazing.  He’s still in the business of blowing our expectations out of the water.