I remember the first time I walked into a church. I was approached by someone who smiled a little more than I thought was natural. In my hand was placed a pamphlet with information on it I had no clue about. But as I walked around in the room I noticed something seeming quite peculiar for me at 8:30 am on a Sunday—warmth. I couldn’t help but see, as strange as I thought it was, how much these people seemed to love each other. They wanted to be there together. Let’s just say, I didn’t grow up around church folks.
The reason I’m saying all this is simple: it can be very easy for us as believers in Christ to assume everyone else knows how to approach Sunday mornings. It can also be easy to assume we know how to approach Sundays ourselves. We should approach Sundays to gain all God has for us while giving away ourselves in complete worship along with our brothers and sisters. The reality is, many of us approach Sundays with a light hearted attitude summed up in one word, routine. Not routine in the good sense. Instead, we are routine in the sense of growing numb toward all God is doing through the Body of Christ gathering together for worship. As we seek to approach Sundays well, for the glory of God, I want to look at 3 ways we can engage greater on Sunday mornings. We will look at before, during, and after Sundays. We’ll tackle these three over the next couple weeks. This week we will start with before.
I want to begin our preparation for Sundays by thinking through how we approach the Word. It’s not a spoiler alert to know what text the message will be on beforehand. It is good for our hearts to look ahead and find out the text being preached on. It gives us time to open our Bibles and examine the text for ourselves. At Crosspoint, we will begin placing this in Connection Link emails each week. We will also post them through social media. This way, you can know ahead of time where we are going and engage the Scriptures for yourself.
As you open up your Bible to look at the text, meditate on it. Seek to memorize portions of the passage or the whole passage. Look at the context surrounding the passage and investigate the text. If you need help to focus, open up a journal, app, or your computer and begin writing down the things the Lord is showing you.
Spending extended time exposed to the passage before Sunday will prepare your heart to listen. You’ll find the more you meditate on a passage, the more your ear listens to what God has to say when Sunday comes.
How might you be able to seek the Lord in prayer as you approach Sunday? For starters, if we are desiring God to prepare our hearts through the Word, we can also ask Him to prepare our hearts through prayer. Ask God to humble you so that you may be completely submissive to His Spirit. He wants to encourage, correct, challenge, exhort, confront or comfort you through both your reading of the Word and the proclaiming of it on Sunday. We should be people who are always seeking God and how He desires to work in our hearts. How might our response to the Word on Sundays change if we are vigilant in seeking the Lord? How might our awareness of Him and how He is working change?
God will cause people who are not believers to be present with us as we gather together for corporate worship. This is an amazing reality for our church! We can seek God in asking Him to prepare their hearts for His Word as they hear it.
How might our church’s hospitality change if we approach Sundays praying? We pray for our hearts, the hearts of others, and the courage to engage the people around us. We pray for God to use us as instruments to encourage all we come across.
Finally, pray for the pastor. As a pastor myself, I can tell you that I need your prayers every single time I step into the pulpit to proclaim the Word. Plead to God with us, so that the Lord might make His grace known to all present on Sunday regardless of our personal weaknesses and shortcomings.
This is not a post to argue for the Biblical mandate of God for the people of God to gather together (maybe I’ll write one sometime). This is an urge to you to see God’s command to gather and prioritize it. Time together as the family of God is essential to the spiritual health of the believer. I have never met a follower of Jesus who has grown more into the image and likeness of Jesus apart from regular fellowship. Corporate worship is the means God chooses to use to encourage and join his people together in love. This helps us to possess all the riches of complete understanding and grow in the knowledge of Christ. It matters, so we make time to be there.
This means potentially missing out on certain activities that happen on Sundays. I’m not advocating a legalistic approach to Sunday attendance. I’m pressing the truth of God on your conscience. I want you to wrestle with this question: Is your current engagement on Sunday mornings encouraging your growth in the faith, or hindering it? A spotless attendance record isn’t the goal here. A structuring of our lives to affirm the value of our presence with the Body of Christ is. We can all look at our pattern of life and see whether this is a priority for us.
Some reading this may be providentially hindered by God from attending all the time. For example, you may be in a season of life where you are forced to work on Sunday mornings. I completely understand you being unable to be involved regularly. But, watching online or listening to a podcast isn’t fellowship with the Body. If this is the case for you, spend time during your week gathering with other believers for worship, Scripture reading, prayer, and fellowship. Don’t starve yourself from feasting on the benefit of community just because you work on Sunday.
If working on Sunday always keeps you from meeting together, this could be a problem. This would be something for you to wrestle personally, but it may be time for you to find a job elsewhere. Another option for you to think about in this process may be talking to your supervisor about adjusting your work schedule. The goal here is be available for gathering with the Body on Sundays. If your personal situation is similar to this, our pastoral staff/elders would love to meet with you to discuss the options available. Yes, gathering together is that essential to your growth in Jesus. It’s a high priority. You are a part of the family, we want to do everything we can to see you.
Let’s approach Sundays well friends. May we come through those doors on Sunday saturated in the Word of God and prayer. May we walk in reminded each week that Sunday is totally worth structuring our schedules and time around. Let’s taste the benefit of consistent engagement with the family of God.