Sunday morning church is the highlight of the week for many of us who follow Jesus. We cannot deny the special effect of joining with other believers in worship. With that in mind, I want to recommend a few practices to help us maximize our time together.
Begin preparing for Sunday on Monday.
Corporate worship combines the collective input of individual worshipers in attendance. The more each worshiper brings, the greater the gift we give to God in worship. In fact, the impact of each worshiper on the whole is exponential.
During the week, pray daily for those involved in leading worship. Worship God each day during the week so that you too bring a heightened sense of God’s presence with you on Sunday.
Set the stage for Sunday on Saturday.
We usually fill our Saturdays with family activities and catch-up home responsibilities. They are great days to get away from the weekly grind and do something different.
Let me encourage you, additionally, to think of Sunday worship on Saturday. Try to get to bed at a reasonable time so you will be alert and at your best Sunday morning. Many people feel the need to dress up for church, supposing to honor God with their “Sunday dress.” But God is more interested in having the best of our attention and heart.
Have everything ready for Sunday morning before you go to bed on Saturday night – including your mind and heart. Moreover, get up early enough on Sunday morning to not be rushed. A good start goes a long way toward a good experience. We are not at our best mentally and spiritually when we rush into the church building trying not to be late.
Participate and pay attention during church.
We often think of the worship leaders as performers, God as prompter, and the congregation as the audience of worship. However, since it is God that we worship, He is an audience of One. The worship leaders are the prompters and the congregation are the performers.
However, worship is not something we are to receive, it is an honor we are to give to God. Sunday morning is not meant to entertain or worship us, but to please God. Participate. Sing. Listen. Take notes. Respond.
Don’t talk to others during the service. Turn off your cell phone and/or silence notifications. Additionally, pay attention to what God is saying and let others hear from Him too.
Finally, stay for the whole service. Don’t walk out during the altar call. At our church, the average altar call is only about 5-10 minutes. I cannot imagine anything in our lives so important that it cannot wait 5 more minutes.
Give these practices a try this week and let’s offer to God a “more excellent sacrifice” each Sunday.