A Question About Worship and the Church

Posted on November 14, 2013 | 15 comments

An interesting tweet rolled through my timeline this weekend. It said that “71% of the city of Austin would decline to come to a worship gathering”.

Putting aside the veracity of the statistic, my response was why should this be shocking?

Why shouldn’t that be our expectation of people outside the kingdom of God?

There is a certain amount of pride inherent in the view that all that is needed to create disciples is a sign with worship times.

Want to plant a church? Just go to the print shop and take the first step!

Inviting those who do not know Christ to a service intended for worship seems like putting the cart before the horse.

Worship implies intimacy. Worship requires alignment.

Worship is all about openness. (see Seeing God in the Grand Canyon)

The false self worships the idol that feeds it. A false sense of wholeness is found establishing and serving something apart from God.

The false self cannot worship God.

This is not to say that the lost are unwelcome or can’t meet God in a worship service or won’t benefit from being exposed to truth in a message, but we should not be expecting them to have motivation to attend. (see 1 Corinthians 2:14)

Those following the false self don’t know what is good for their true self in Christ. They are still protecting the self they have created. That is pride.

In any new town he entered, Paul went to the temple. But, his audience was unique. The temple was fill with those who believed in the Father and were familiar with the prophets. This audience needed to see Jesus as the prophesied Messiah.

But let’s boil that down, Paul went to so people could see Jesus.

The church is supposed to be the body of Christ. Visible. Tangible. So people who do not know can see Jesus.

Instead of relying on the lost to come to us (isn’t that contradictory to expect the lost to find their way?), the church needs to go to.

The church needs to be part of what the surrounding community is already doing. Gathering where the community is already gathering.

So that the light of the church, our spirit led and spirit inspired words and actions, can be visible in the darkness.

For the light to be attractional it needs to be present not hidden. Then those without the Spirit get an experience with Jesus.

I titled this post “A Question About Worship and the Church”. My case has briefly been stated. I’d love your thoughtful responses either way. What is your reaction to the tweet?

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  1. Yes, we are commissioned, commanded, & directed to go out into the world to make disciples. Except perhaps mothers who are directed to be workers at home, yet to also look for opportunities to minister to the poor, ill, or needy. I appreciate this post! Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

    • Thanks Cynthia for stopping by and commenting!

  2. This is a great post! We found you over at the Rags to Stitches blog link up and we would love to have you share it on our blog’s linkup at http://rosevinecottagegirls.blogspot.com/2013/11/link-up-5.html We would love for our friends to read it there. It blessed us and it is timely in what we are walking through in ministry right now. Thank you.

    • Thanks for the invite, and for stopping by!

  3. I love this! We live in a small rural community near a minimum security facility, mostly for those getting close to getting out of prison. Our men’s group goes and works with them on a weekly basis to start them in the process of finding their way out in the world. It’s been a very successful program.

  4. Our world has become one of a largely self-obsessed population with no interest in anything outside of self. The strongest form of leadership is to lead by example. I think that many Christians should lead more by example, and show that what they have is remarkable enough for others to want the same peace. On the flip side, there are those who have no interest in knowing the Truth. I am a Christian. In some churches I have not felt welcomed though I was open. I know that God doesn’t see me the way that people may. I have been kind to people who have completely opposing views to mine, and been judged.

    This is a great post, and in this day, even brave. Thank you.

    • Good comments. Thanks for adding to the conversation!

  5. One thought that can put my previous comment in a nutshell: People should see Jesus in us. 🙂

  6. So right! Much too often, people fel that just showing up for “services” is their whole duty. But we truly are to “go” and “show Jesus”. That may be as a missionary, it may be because you are the person with the different attitude in the checkout stand or at work. It may be through a blog that brings hope! Thank you for “going”. Blessings, Shelly

    (and thank you for linking up on Recommendation Saturday so that I could find this article!)

  7. Yes, we must go to the world. Jesus went and ate with sinners, he went to them. My charch does a Halloween outreach, even though I don’t think Halloween is something to be celebrated I support my chirch’s outreach into the community. That is where we meet the world and how will we get them into the huh i we don’t first go meet them where they are?

  8. I’ve found myself challenged with this truth a lot lately, Scott. It’s easy for me to avoid dealing with unbelievers since all of my clientele are Christians and most of my friends are Christians. I’ve been praying that God would give me opportunities to connect with unbelievers in my community. And this post reminds me of that need and commitment! Thanks for the insight and challenge!

  9. Most church goers think that 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 instructs believers not to mingle with the world in their own setting. “Go to” means to a foreign country not in our own town or neighbors. I’ll admit it’s kind of confusing but I do agree Jesus went to people but they also came to him. I’m sure it works both ways since his Spirit has to go to people for them to go to him. Interesting subject.

  10. Thank you so very much for stopping by and sharing on Family Friday Link Up Party! Hope to see you again next week!

  11. That does make sense. I think it goes along with how we often expect others to ask “what’s different about you?” instead of us speaking about Jesus to them. Challenging stuff!

  12. Thanks for your great thoughts and for sharing with us here at “Tell Me a Story.”
    Our church has been having programed discussions on how to gain new members. They don’t seem to understand that the mission of the church is to bring the lost and disciple them and continue the process. Their thought is to find nice elderly people (Christians) and perhaps give them a ride to church.
    As we sat at tables, I told those within earshot, there are three options. 1. Reach out with new programs to find those without Jesus, 2. Invite small churches that are renting a building to merge with us into our lovely sanctuary and to bring their pastor with them, as ours is ready to retire. 3. Merge with a larger growing church and sell our present facility. My suggestions did not set well, and there it stands. Personally, I did more witnessing when I was working than now, except for my blot.

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