Pastor John Martin | Pastor of Worship Arts
WORSHIP is one of our key core values at The Point. While authentic worship of Jesus should transcend our corporate gatherings and be expressed and lived out in our lives as we strive to follow Christ daily, we know there is something unique, sweet and powerful about gathering together as The Church for corporate worship.
The weekly gathering of The Church for worship should be very high on the priority list of every Christ follower (Heb 10:19-25). However, the truth is many treat the Sunday morning service as just another event that is tacked on to the end of their busy week. If we are in Christ, worship should be reflected in our lives throughout the week in order to truly culminate in worship in Spirit and Truth (Jn 4:24) during our corporate gatherings. Thus, it becomes essential that as we gear up for each corporate gathering, we prepare our hearts, minds and spirits to worship Jesus whole-heartedly.
While there is no instruction manual or magical prescription to help us in our preparation, there are some practical things we can do to help us bring our very best offering as we gather. Here are 10 recommendations that are not all original to me, that can help us as we prepare for Sunday mornings.
1) Continually Preach the Gospel to yourself during the week. This will help you to keep the right perspective each day. Knowing that you are accepted by God only through the work of Christ by grace can help you fight sin and love Jesus supremely!
2) Keep a short leash on sin through regular prayer and meditation. Confession and repentance are paramount in our relationship with the Father. Unconfessed sin is the greatest impediment to worship. Spend time in prayer and meditation with the Spirit, and let him guide you by pointing out possible “blind spots.” Even if you have somehow forgotten about sin in your life, the Spirit will be sure to convict you, not for condemnation, but to spur you all the more quickly to confession and repentance so that grace might abound.
3) Keep God’s Word on the forefront. Find times throughout your day to dwell in God’s word. It doesn’t have to be a 20-30 minute quiet time every day. Print out key passages about various attributes of God or testimonies of the Gospel and hang them on your bathroom mirror, your computer screen or wherever else you will encounter it throughout your day. Begin reading various Psalms on your breaks or during scheduled downtimes. This will help keep your mind set upon God.
4) Keep your Relationships “in check.” Start with your family. Make sure your relationship with your spouse and children (or parents, etc.) is where it needs to be. Be quick to extend forgiveness where it is needed, and ask for forgiveness where you yourself where you have failed. Consider your work relations, neighbors, acquaintances, and church family. Are there any grudged or bitterness being harbored? Offer grace, even where it may not be deserved, just as the Savior has done for us.
5) Have the proper perspective of the gathering. Realize that the main point of the worship gathering is not for you to be blessed, or even for you to be a blessing to others. The primary function of a worshiper is to worship God through exalting and magnifying Christ. Knowing that God only receives our worship because of the work of Christ can help us keep the proper perspective!
6) Determine to come to the gathering with expectation as a participant rather than an observer. Gather together expecting to meet with the Lord. Come expecting the Lord to reveal Himself and transform your life. Enter corporate worship with the reverence and awe the High Priest must have felt as he entered the Holy of Holies, but realizing He is already present within you (Heb 9). You are now the Temple, and the Holy of Holies is inside you. Determine to be a participant not an observer. Remember, you are there to worship God, He is our audience, not you or others. He is omnipresent, we do not have to “conjure” or invite His presence. Worship is ALWAYS an action, even when internal and personal. It is impossible for worship to be passive.
7) Make time for family worship during the week. This does not have to be daily or complex but it needs to be consistent. It can be as simple as reading scripture together and praying. Pray for the gathering on Sunday morning. Pray for the pastor who will preach truth, the worship leaders who lead us in song and liturgy and for our worship to be centered around and upon Christ. The corporate gathering is most authentic and real when it is the culmination of our worship, not the initiation.
8) Highly prioritize the weekly gathering. Corporate worship should be one of your highest priorities as an individual or a family. When we “neglect meeting together” because of busy family schedules or reoccurring conflicting activities or events, we are devaluing the importance and relevance of worship. Likewise, we once again fail to be active participants in the life of the body. The writer of Hebrews exhorts the early Church and us to, “…let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Heb 10:24-25)
9) Guard your time and activities the day/evening before corporate worship. Rest long enough Saturday night to be alert and hopeful Sunday morning. .. Without sufficient sleep, our minds are dull, our emotions are flat, our proneness to depression is higher, and our fuses are short. My counsel decide when you must get up on Sunday in order to have time to eat, get dressed, pray and meditate on the Word, prepare the family, and travel to church; and then compute backward eight hours and be sure that you are in bed 15 minutes before that. Read your Bible in bed and fall asleep with the Word of God in your mind. I especially exhort parents to teach teenagers that Saturday is NOT the night to stay out late with friends. If there is a special late night, make it Friday. It is a terrible thing to teach children that worship is so optional that it doesn’t matter if you are exhausted when you come. –adapted from John Piper
10) Desire the Truth of God’s Word more than you desire riches or food. 1 Peter 2:2 “Like newborn babies, desire the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” As you sit quietly and pray and meditate on the text and the songs, remind yourself of what Psalm 19:10-11 says about the Words of God “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Think earnestly about what is sung and prayed and preached. –adapted from John Piper