“How was church today?”
Do you ever get asked that question? What’s the typical response?
“Church was good.”
It was good. And next Sunday it will be…good. And 27 Sundays from now it will be…good. Wow! That’s amazing – every service is rated “good” every week.
I have a sneaky suspicion that not every church service is what we call good. I know this because I’ve been to some bad ones. I’ve been to hundreds of services, some were out of this world amazing, many were good and a few were bad.
But what qualifies a service as good or bad anyways? I’m not talking about a church or denomination. I just want to focus on a few qualities that I believe make a church service or meeting good.
Worship is Engaging
Worship is so important. It’s not just a time where people who come late can find their seats. It’s not a time to be entertained by, “the nice music.” No, it’s a time to praise and worship the living God! And it’s a blessing when you have a worship leader who understands that they are to engage the people and encourage them to seek the Lord.
And just having a good worship team does not make the service good. It’s when the worship team and the congregation are all worshiping together in spirit and in truth. When there is unity in the Spirit amazing things can happen!
Moving with the Spirit
Some people know how to move with the Spirit in a service and some don’t. It shouldn’t strike us as weird when we talk about moving with the Spirit. We are taught to live according to the Spirit and walk in the Spirit. So it makes sense to move with the Spirit in our meetings, does it not?
But too many times we sense the urgency of staying on schedule and ignore the leading of the Spirit. A perfect example is when it comes to transitioning from worship to the word. Too many times I’ve been caught up in worship and then suddenly the music stops and someone starts rattling off announcements. One moment I’m pouring out my heart to my Lord and the next I’m being told that there is an important potluck coming up where we all need to bring hotdogs!
I’ve also seen some leaders handle this transition time beautifully. Instead of interrupting the spirit of worship they simply carried over that same atmosphere into the ministry of the word. How do they do it? I believe they realize that God is the main event, not them. And with that heart it’s much easier to continue to point people to the presence of God, even while preaching.
Time for Personal Ministry
It’s great when there is time set apart for worship, for the word and also for ministry. When you worship the Lord your spirit is stirred and you become sensitive to God’s Spirit. You become less worried about the cares of this world and instead are captivated by an awesome God who loves you.
Then the word is preached and your mind is illuminated and your heart is warmed. But should it end there? In many services it does. But I believe this is a perfect time to pray for one another and to be open to the gifts of the Spirit. God may want to use you to prophesy over someone. Or perhaps you have a word of knowledge or an encouraging word to give.
God is so amazing and I believe every meeting is an opportunity to see Him move and touch lives. But if we just go through the motions and hold efficiency as our highest goal then we will miss out on so much.