January 25, 2022
Pastor Scott Boerckel
At East White Oak, our focus is “seeking to be worshipers, maturing in Christ.” In this edition of the OakLeaf, we will share articles about our seeking to be worshipers. This article is about how to prepare for our weekly Sunday worship service.
Warming Up for the Most Important Moment of the Week
If you’ve ever seen someone do something well, whether it is a sport, a musical performance, or some other kind of artistry, you know that preparation for the action is just as important as the action itself. I have always been amazed at the warm up of performers, whether music groups or orchestra members or professional athletes. They all take their craft seriously! They know that if they do not prepare correctly, their actions will be less than excellent. Similarly, if you’ve ever watched the “bonus” section of a movie to hear from the director and actors on their preparations for their filming, you know just how much they pour into the preparation, all for making a movie.
So, as worshipers, we should put our best effort into preparing for worshiping together. All too frequently, we do not prepare at all for worship. We think that it is enough just to show up. Imagine if your favorite sports team or music group or actor gave that kind of effort. You would boo! We have an audience of One as we worship. We should think well upon not only our worship but also upon our preparation for worship.
Here are some ways to prepare for worship:
1) Pray each day for God to meet us in power as we worship on Sunday. If all of us prayed this way, imagine our anticipation each week as we gather!
2) Pray for readiness to hear God’s Word. Ask the Lord to plow the hard ground in your heart to make way for the fresh seed of God’s Word to be implanted. Pray that the pastor may be true to the Word of God and that you will be attentive in your worship.
3) Give thought on Saturday for the rhythm of that day not to get in the way of Sunday worship. It is hard to be ready for the most important time of the week when we have exhausted ourselves to the point of lethargy the day or night before.
4) Come to worship! Whether you attend in person or are needing to livestream, show up. The statistics of what churchgoers call “regular attendance” have dropped precipitously in the past decade. You have an appointment with God in the company of His people each week. Do not lightly forego that privilege.
5) Invite others to come to worship with you. Absolutely nothing makes you pay attention to worship like having a guest with you. Your attention is on literally everything that happens. If you doubt that, give it a try and see!
6) Engage people as you enter our place of worship. Instead of talking about nothing, perhaps make a statement of your expectation of meeting God. Then, take a brief moment as you take your seat quietly to offer a prayer to God, “Lord, I’m here, and I want to worship you in Spirit and in truth with your people.”
7) While you are worshiping, distractions come. They are inevitable. Whether is it a song that you can’t stand or a baby that is crying or someone is moving in a distracting way, it is your choice in how you respond. Rather than allowing those distractions to take you from worship, use them to offer this prayer, “Like you, Jesus, I say, ‘Get behind me, Satan!’ And help what distracts me to be a true blessing to others.” After all, that song that you can’t stand might be exactly what God wants for another; that baby that cries has a mom or dad that needs God’s family’s love.
It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
How great are your works, O Lord!
Your thoughts are very deep!
May the Lord grant that we become worshipers, maturing in Christ. And may our worship together on Sunday mornings create in us a heart of worship that impacts all of life.
Senior Pastor Scott Boerckel loves being a pastor and teaching God’s Word. He is married to Carol, a watercolor artist who knows how to think Christianly about the arts. In his free time, he enjoys cycling with friends, enjoying his ever growing family, and learning from the community of God’s people at East White Oak.
February OakLeaf Articles:
Preparing for Sunday Worship by Pastor Scott Boerckel
Sunday Worship as Outreach by Pastor Justin Waples
Worship, It’s Good for the Soul by Pastor Jeff VanGoethem
Music in Worship by Paul Jones
Worship from the Psalms by Craig Nelson
Parenting In the Worship Service by Jon and Pam Scott
What I Miss About Physically Gathering for Worship by Janet Schlagel