I am continuing on with Part 2 of How I Think About and Approach Our Church Services.
Continued from Part 1
I truly believe God has a purpose for our church services. While each and every service may have a different focus or flavor, I have discovered a consistent, biblical pattern for our gatherings. It is a template of sorts. Throughout the Word I find three primary values with corresponding exercises. The source of these understandings is from Paul’s purpose statement in Colossians 2.
“My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2,3
First Value: Each service must be Uplifting – “encouraged in heart”
Paul’s desire is that the church would be encouraged. He wanted this to happen for those in Colosse; those in Laodicea and even for those that he did not yet know or had not met him personally. This is a broad prayer with even broader implications.
We’ve all seen a bride that is happy and fulfilled. There is a certain glow about them that communicates an encouraged heart. That same sense is evident in an encouraged church. Of course, the opposite is obvious also. A church that is discouraged and defeated rarely has a viable witness to the community. Encouragement is contagious and captivating. Our church services ought to be that way – they ought to be the most positive and uplifting places in town. Of course, they don’t have to be ‘syrupy’ or ‘sappy sweet’ – they have to be based in reality, and yet, they do not have to drop into a place of ‘doom and gloom’. The goal is that people would be encouraged.
My heart is to facilitate uplifting services and deliver uplifting messages. This does not exclude the appropriate and timely ‘strong word’. But even that must flow from a right heart and ought not be expressed in anger or wrath. To challenge the church body is often very uplifting if done with a right heart and motives.
The heart is the key to uplifting services. It will dictate the tone. It will determine the temperature.
I have discovered that nothing sets the tone as well as worship. A worship lifestyle and worship expression in our services is so important in establishing Kingdom presence. Worship engages our spirit and encourages our heart. People will often enter into the sanctuary with heavy burdens and intense pain. In the midst of true worship, healing and restoration often takes place. There is the transfusion of strength and courage in the midst of distress and depression. Despite the situation, the individual can say, “It is well with my soul!”
To be continued…