“I was glad when they said to me ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’” (Psalm 122:1)
Corporate worship is the very heart of the Christian faith. Through it we both glorify God and lift ourselves up, we connect both with God and each other through prayer and praise, and we are reminded of our calling to be God’s hands and feet in the world around us. No wonder the Bible continually talks about the importance of corporate worship for the life of a disciple, for it can be fairly said that Christian faith begins and ends with worship.
No other Christian tool fulfills the purpose or accomplishes the mission that worship alone can. As important as Sunday School classes, Bible studies, and other small groups are to our spiritual and relational growth as Christians, they were never intended to be a substitute for weekly worship with the whole body of Christ. And while the various ministry programs and events that we sponsor and host as a church are all important ways to connect with and serve others, programs and events alone will never grow the church -- only worship can do that.
It should trouble us, then, when some Christians treat worship like an “optional extra” -- a part of their faith that is either attended to only sporadically, or in sometimes skipped altogether. In some cases, folks attend a Sunday School class, Men’s or Women’s group, Bible study, etc. but then go home and skip worship. What they don’t realize is that by doing so they are starving their spirit and (if they stay away long enough), it will spiritually cripple their walk with God.
But not only is worship the life-blood of those who claim to follow Jesus, but it’s also usually the first portal that visitors and guests experience of our faith community (and even when it’s not the first one, it’s always the deciding one in eventual faith decisions).
Consequently, we have no more important task as Christian disciples than that of both participating in and helping develop and grow worship at our church. So, what are YOU doing to foster these? First and foremost, are you yourself participating regularly in worship at LaGrange First UMC? If not, why not? At all of our worship services on September 27, Pastor Blake and myself will be inviting everyone to make a commitment to God to be in worship every week, unless sick or out of town. I pray that you will join us in that commitment.
But in addition to your own worship commitment, I also want to ask what you are doing to help grow and develop our worship experiences at LaGrange First UMC? Have you invited someone lately to attend and sit with you? Or do you only invite them to programs, events, and your own small group? God’s church grows in direct proportion to how its people make worship a priority. So, is worship first for YOU? Remember, God loves you and so do I!