“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” – Hebrews 12:28-29
As a church leaders, and more specifically a worship pastor, I have a slightly different view on worship gatherings than most. I see things differently because I know what’s been happening behind the scenes. The prayer, volunteer effort, and work that’s been put in to creating a time of worship that will equip and build the church. But without fail I see the same patterns every week. Good church people coming in late to the worship service.
Why is that?
Well, it could be for quite a few different reasons, some valid and others, if I can be quite blunt, selfish and disrespectful. As a father of five children all under the age of 6, I get being late occasionally due to family issues. We do our best at leaving on time but it doesn’t always work out that way. I also understand the occasional oversleeping, flat tire, and spilled coffee on the khaki’s, but what I don’t get nor have I ever understood was the intentionality of coming in late to a worship service or the subtle routine of being fashionably late. And in my opinion, this isn’t just a timely issue, it’s a spiritual issue.
Hebrews 12 clearly teaches us that acceptable worship is approached with reverence and awe. When we are routinely late, we are not approaching worship with any reverence towards God or with awe. When we’re late, what we’re really saying is that our time of worship isn’t worth all of who we are. We treat worship, and God, with a disrespectful and flippant attitude.
The First Song is Not the ‘Warm Up Song’ – Whether it’s an opening song, video, or any other liturgical or creative element, the beginning of service not only sets the tone of the service but starts to unify the church.
First Time Guests Hang Out Here – If you’re interested in engaging and retaining guests (or visitors) in your church, you’d be better off spending a few minutes in the worship auditorium rubbing elbows with new folks than chatting it up with your friends.
Worship is a Whole, Not a Part – The church must deconstruct the idea that worship is only the music, or the sacraments, when in reality it’s the whole. The worship service requires that attitude and heart of worship that is receptive to all of the elements of our gatherings including the music and the message.
Hours of Effort – Church staff and it’s army of volunteers put in hours of work in hopes that something will speak to the hearts of each and every person that walks through the doors.
Our Lives Are Our Legacy – What we do and how we live we pass on to our children and those who look to us as an example. We set the course, both good and bad for those who we influence.
Believe it or not, the worship service actually starts on time. So can we please be on time for the start of our worship services? Or maybe get there early?