CONGREGATIONAL GUIDELINES FOR WORSHIP
There is much good teaching for the worship ministry of a church
but one part of the worship ministry can sometimes be forgotten.
The congregation. Yes, that's correct. The congregation is very
much a part of the worship ministry of a church. While it is true
the whole church does not attend rehearsal, all members of the
local body are a part of the team. There is only one observer:
God. The rest of us are to be participants.
In the churches that Martin Luther pastored, the whole
congregation WAS required to attend worship rehearsal. Not
that I would suggest that, but - wow! - what an idea. Having said
that, there are some very real helps to guide the church body in
its worship ministry. Consider the following suggestions:
The average member may not know what songs will be sung on
Sunday, but he or she can prepare by preparing his or her heart.
This is done through focusing on just who God is. Meditating on
scripture about God is the first step (eg. Psalm 8, 23, 25, 27, 107).
The next step in preparation is to physically get ready by
"slowing down". Let Saturday evening be a time of quietly
preparing ones heart in prayer and rest. Attending church on a
Sunday morning is more than just another item in our busy
weekly schedule. It is the height of the week. The climax. It's
the most important part of the week. It is the appointed time that
the body of Christ gathers as one with one purpose: Worship!
Once Sunday comes, each member can actively engage their
body, soul, and mind in worship. This is done by setting aside all
distractions of the week and linking with all other believers in
worship of God. Distractions can appear in many forms,
including good things. No matter how good something is, if it
takes our attention from Creator God, we must take it captive
and deny it the place of attention. Some struggle with the style of
songs or the appearance of someone on the platform. While
these may raise legitimate concerns from time to time, all
believers do well to worship in spite of the distraction. Engaging
is more than just singing a song or raising ones hands. It is
loving the Lord your God "with all your heart and with all your
soul and with all your strength and with all your mind".
Even though we worship on Sunday, there are many more days in
the week. Believers worship with more than a song on Sunday.
They carry it throughout every day. As a congregation, we can
speak out or sing songs of worship in our cars, when walking
down the street, or anywhere where it will not cause a problem.
Worshiping throughout the week will result in a more extravagant
worship time the following Sunday. During our hectic week, we
can take many opportunities to stop and worship the God who is
present and cares. Follow-through is also known as a lifestyle of
worship, which is not difficult when God is the focus of our lives.
I'm not suggesting that the congregation suddenly show up for
worship rehearsal. That might startle the worship leader and
team. What I am suggesting is that we remember worship is
more than just the song set on Sunday morning. As a
congregation, let's centre our thoughts, emotions, and activities
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