A poor worship assembly hinders attempts to introduce visitors to the church. Picture Mary, who has been trying for months to get her friend, Joyce, to attend services with her. One Sunday Joyce decided to visit to see what the church of Christ was like. That particular day, however, everything seemed to go wrong: the service started late because the person making announcements was trying to get all of the news together; the preacher was ill prepared because he had been busy all week with other church business; there was a scramble to get all the men together to serve communion, and, finally, the man who would lead the closing prayer was absent. After a few seconds of embarrassing silence, the song leader led the short prayer.
As a visitor Joyce sat near the back, a perfect vantage point to observe the congregation. Joyce was reared in a denomination which placed great stress on reverence during worship. She was shocked to see so much activity in the pews. There was such noise and distraction that Joyce could barely hear the sermon. Needless to say, Joyce was not impressed by what she found in the church of Christ.
You may object by saying that this just happened to be a bad service – that it is not always like that. Actually, however, these events may be more common than we realize. We have just gotten used to them. Another thing – we should strive to make every service one to be proud to bring visitors with us. “Joyce” may choose any Sunday morning or evening, or any Wednesday night to “see what the church of Christ is like.” Of greater and more importance, is the fact that we are offering this worship as a sacrifice to God! We should always remember that God is in our midst – we should NEVER offer him less than the best. Though “Joyce” may not be at a service, God is here with his people always.
Don Jackson, Kosciusko, MS June 22, 1983
I know our services here at South Cobb do not have some of the problems mentioned above, because we have men here who strive to do what they can to make sure these things do not happen. I thank all those who help us out in these matters; I do believe, however, that we all can make our services more reverent and show more respect to God who is among us. Your thoughts? Tommy
ARE WE RUSHING THROUGH WORSHIP?
In several business meetings I have listened to varied suggestions on how the worship should be shortened – “Use more trays,” “Omit a song,” or
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“Cut the sermon shorter.” In all of this thinking there seems to be an under-lying premise that a shorter service is a better service – that efficiency means more efficacy. As we rushing through our worship so that we may hasten to feed the poor, to preach to our neighbors, to lift up the heathen? NO! We rush because we fill all of our time with things we “need” or “want” to do. We rush so we can be the first at a restaurant, or to watch our favorite TV program, football, baseball, or basketball game, or take a nap or play golf or go on an outing. If none of these things attracts us, we may rush because we are in the habit of doing everything in a hurry.
We sing, “Take Time To Be Holy” but we don’t have time to meditate, to praise, to listen to the Word in a relaxed atmosphere. There is pressure by more worldly members to “pay our respects” to God in the smallest capsule of time possible. Movies and TV programs are getting longer, but periods of worship are being compressed. Why? Is it because we are so spiritual that we don’t need more time to be holy? Or is it a lack of appetite for spiritual food? Do we “hunger and thirst after righteousness,” or do we fret when the Lord’s Supper takes more time than the newscast?
Time is precious, and we should “redeem the time.” Our periods of worship should be planned so our worship will be more effective. Let’s take time to be holy – time for more spiritual songs, for sermons that are long enough to convince the sinner and edify the Christian. Let us take time to promote activities of the church which will build us up in the most holy faith – time for meditation on the meaning of the Lord’s Supper. Time for silence – to be still and know that God is with us.
M. Norvel Young. Abilene TX