Early in my sales career I was driving through my territory, when on a whim, I decided to cold call a local bank. I sauntered up to the counter in my new suit, dropped off my business card and requested that it be given to Mr. Reed (not the real name) the bank’s Chief Technology Officer. I heard a small cough behind me and turned around to hear a woman say, “It is actually Mrs. Reed and I’m her. What can I do for you?” Things went from bad to worse as I was caught completely off guard and sputtered through what was usually a pretty polished 30 second sales pitch. Mrs. Reed, graciously took my card said she would be in touch, walked me to the door and put me out of my misery. Needless to say, I never did any business with that bank, but I did learn a valuable lesson that day. Preparation matters. We can’t expect to capitalize on an opportunity if we aren’t prepared for that opportunity. From that day forward I never stopped foot into another business without being prepared. Preparation is crucial to maximizing opportunity. If we fail to prepare, then while we might still get lucky from time to time, we will never experience all that we could if we only put some time into preparation. Preparation matters.
Every Sunday, as we gather as a church, we have the incredible opportunity to encounter the one, true, living God. Surely we can encounter him each and every day. However, as we gather together as a church there is a unique kind of opportunity that we have to experience a deeper fellowship with Him through our fellowship with one another (1 John 1:3). Through hearing God’s word song, preached and celebrated through sharing the Lord’s supper, God is tapping us on the shoulder and saying, “I’m right here. Let’s meet.” I think so often we can miss out on the opportunity of experiencing God, because we just aren’t prepared for it. We are distracted and so we don’t see it. We are hardened and so we don’t feel it. We are blind and so we aren’t looking for it. It is so easy to get in a routine of gathering with the church on Sunday and miss out on really experiencing the life giving presence of God that dwells in the gathering of His people. If we want to maximize our opportunity on Sunday, then we have to prepare for it. Preparation matters.
Here are 4 ways you can prepare for our Sunday worship gathering.
1. Study the text that is going to be preached advance
The preaching of God's word is the highlight of our gathering and you will gain so much more out of it if you have already been studying it. Read the text and write down what questions it provokes in you. Think about what it is teaching you about Jesus. Meditate on why God inspired this to be written to bring transformation to your life.
2. Pray for our gathering
If we want to see God meet us then we need to pray for Him to do so!
- Pray that God would give you ears to listen, a heart to apply and a spirit to worship
- Pray that God would empower you to be used to encourage someone else
- Pray that God would use you to greet someone knew and touch them with the love of God through your warm welcome
- Pray for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit, so that you might have a manifestation of his Spirit for our common good
- Pray that God would use this gathering to draw unbelievers to himself, so that new disciples might be made
- Pray that God would use this gathering to draw believers into deeper knowledge of Himself, so that disciples might be matured
- Pray through each part of our liturgy given in the Sunday Service preview.
3. Plan (and execute the plan) to get the church building at least 15 minutes early
Getting here early:
- Positions you to be able to greet new people, who always come to church early.
- Gives you the opportunity to minster to someone before our service even begins, which might free them to experience the service in an even more meaningful way.
- Allows you to experience the full liturgy that the pastors have put together, with serving you, in mind.
4. Invite someone new
Inviting someone to our Sunday gathering not only helps further our mission (we don’t exist just for the people who are in the church, but those who are unchurched!), it will also change your experience. It is just true that you will be more attentive when you have someone with you that you invited out. You will be out of your “routine” and you will be more engaged, because you will be thinking through your follow up interaction. So invite someone out, for their sake and yours!