Mark Alan Williams
How To Get More Out Of A Church Service Even If You Don’t Enjoy Going
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Recently I spoke with a Christian who said he wanted to please God. But he has not been attending a church. That is a problem because it is not possible to please God without participating in a worship community (see Hebrews 10:25).
CC Image courtesy of Brendan Ross on Flickr
The church is so important that it is called His body while Christ is the head (see Colossians 1:18). Suggesting you can love the head (Christ) without loving the body (the church) is about as doable as pretending I can tell my wife I love her head but not her body. That wouldn’t go over too well!
But what if we just don’t seem to get a lot out of church and don’t enjoy it?
There are many reasons why this might be, including being part of a “dead” church and needing a change. But often the issue is not the church, it is us.
Tucked into the otherwise philosophical book of Ecclesiastes is a very practical section which gives some helpful suggestions about how we can get the most out of a worship gathering.
Here are the 4 points from Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 that tell us how to get more out of a church service:
Prepare in 4 Areas
“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:1a)
To “guard your steps” means to be careful.
One thing we can do in this regard is to prepare carefully in the following 4 areas:
a. Prepare Mentally
Commit to regular church attendance.
Determine to enter God’s house with a respectful and cheerful attitude.
Plan to participate and keep the focus on God.
b. Prepare Spiritually
Prepare your heart by confessing your sins.
Pray for the pastor and all participants.
Develop a daily habit of worship and it will feel natural to worship with others during the service.
c. Prepare Physically
Plan to go to bed at a decent time the night before so you go well rested.
Get up in time to have breakfast and not rush.
Plan your wardrobe the night before.
d. Prepare Relationally
Jesus said; “Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24 NIV)
Make your relationships right before worship.Forgive others. (Matthew 6:15)
Listen Carefully on 2 Levels
“Go near to listen rather than offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.” (Ecclesiastes 5:1b)
Listening is hard work. Many or most people would rather talk than listen. But it seems that God gave us two ears and only one mouth so we would listen twice as much as we speak.
“Go near to listen” means more than just listening to the speaker’s words. We must listen for God’s message inside the message—what is God saying to ME?
God gives anointed teachers to lead us in the study of His Word (Ephesians 4:11). But most importantly we must listen to His voice of conviction in our hearts.
I suggest you ask God specific questions about issues you are facing and listen for Him to answer. Then verify what you hear with the Bible and wise Christian counsel.
Make and Take Vows Seriously
“When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it.” (Ecclesiastes 5:4a)
The Bible indicates that we should make and keep commitments or vows. For example, vows of:
“Do not delay in fulfilling it.” If you have made a vow, fulfill it as soon as possible. The longer you procrastinate the harder it will become to keep it.
Delayed obedience is disobedience.
Stand in Awe of God
“Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:7)
Be careful of devaluing God as “the big guy upstairs.” A major reason we devalue church is because we devalue God.
When we have an appropriate view of God, we will be more inclined to truly worship Him.
All powerful (Jeremiah 32:17)
Present at all times (Jeremiah 23:23-24)
All knowing (Psalm 147:4-5)
Loving (1 John 4:8b)
Merciful and forgiving (Psalm 145:8)
Sovereign over all (1Timothy 6:15a)
Holy and pure (Psalm 145:17)
Eternal (Psalm 90:2)
The Creator of everything (Genesis 1:1)
The giver of everything that is good (James 1:17)
Many have never bowed down to God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ. They may be worshipping other gods such as:
But such idols are futile: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 KJV)
Click here to learn how to receive salvation through Christ.