Most people go to Church expecting some kind of Bible lesson or from a spiritual principle. We attend knowing the preacher will open his Bible and talk about something from inside there. He will offer moral direction or spiritual comfort given from God’s word in the form of a sermon.
I also think that many people go to looking to make personal connections. They expect to meet individuals and couples from their community who are trying to live a moral life. There will be conversations that bring new relationships into our lives in a positive way.
The average person goes to Church to learn a little and build relationships.
Through the years I have received some additional unexpected lessons along the way.
1. The need to set aside time for God. Having a worship program every Sunday morning forces me to have a set time and place for God. Those times I haven’t attend a worship program it is easy to slip from day-to-day without giving God much thought. I have a spouse, children, job and a thousand other projects vying for my time. Church has taught me the power of a simple routine. Setting aside time for God on Sunday morning forces me to stop everything and put God on my agenda before I run to the next thing.
2. Praying when I do not feel like it. Somewhere around one to four times during a worship program we stop and pray. No one asks me if I feel like it. They just say, “Will you pray with me?” or “Will you bow your heads?” It reminds me that prayer is not about my feelings, prayer is about the power of God. My prayers are not more effective if they are close to my heart, prayer works because of the God we speak to in those moments. Sunday morning has taught me to focus on God and not my own feelings in relation to prayer.
3. Singing my praise to God – even when life hurts. Have you ever noticed the Church does not take a survey of people before singing each week? We just jump right into music and songs from the beginning. Honestly, there are moments I don’t want to sing praises to God. When I lost my dad, I wanted to cry and shout, and yet on Sunday morning, we started with a praise chorus. Worship is not about my feelings; it is about God. My time in worship is a reminder to elevate God above my problems.
4. The ministry of a community. The Church frequently forces me to focus on something bigger than my agenda. I believe God gives each one of us gifts and abilities to use for his kingdom. He might even give you a dream of a particular ministry to serve the people of God. And yet, I submit myself to the leadership of other believers. They point me toward other ministries that are equally important. The Church uses my gifts to support projects that could not be accomplished by an individual. Sometimes the Church says no to my agenda so that a bigger kingdom ministry can be achieved. God might use me through the Church in ways I never expected.
I still hope the people who attend a Church program learn a little Bible and spiritual principles. I still hope they build relationships. But I also hope that being a part of worship each week in a Church stretches and grows us in other ways. I pray that your life is molded in profound and meaningful ways simply by exposing yourself to worship every Sunday.