Preparing for Sunday Worship

IHOR ZHAKUNETS
A church is more than the Sunday worship gathering but it is not less. The corporate gathering of the church is essential to being a church. In fact, our English word “church” translates the Greek word – ekklēsia – which means “assembly” or gathered people. So how do we prepare for this essential characteristic of church life?

Begin Saturday Night
Many times how we spend Saturday nights may determine how we engage on Sunday morning. Before an important job interview we are sure to plan what we are to wear, prep for a hassle free breakfast, and go to bed at reasonable hour. Why? To be at our best the next day. It’s not hard to imagine how a late night, a frustrating morning getting the kids dressed, and a hectic breakfast or drive in can work against us as we try to engage with God together as a church. Preparing for Sunday worship begins on Saturday night.

Set Expectations
Sunday gatherings are not like going to a conference or a class to merely get the information. They are family gatherings and so relationships, engagement, and consistency matter.

Hebrews 10:24–25 reads, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Not making it a habit to miss gathering together would mean at the very least to make it a habit to meet together. So, whatever it means for Sunday worship to be a habit, it has to mean that you come more often then you don’t. If coming twice a month is considered a habit, then missing twice a month is a habit as well – and that’s what the text says not to do. Don’t make it a habit to neglect meeting together. So at the very least our attendance ought to be over 50%.

Being regularly present for Sunday worship is important to the life and ministry of the local church. So set the expectation, if at all possible, to be at church on Sundays.

Pray For the Gathering
It would take a lot of words to describe what happens during Sunday worship. Here is a short list – worship of the Triune God, interaction with his Word, renewing of the mind, encouragement, building up of our faith, lamenting over sin, receiving assurance, discipleship, evangelism, spiritual counseling, fellowship, training in righteousness, and the list goes on. But none of this happens without Jesus. There is no spiritual growth, no spiritual fruit without Jesus – apart from him we can do nothing (John 15:5). That truth should leave us with a feeling of dependence, it should drive us to prayer. Pray for our Sunday gatherings, pray for God to sanctify his people, pray for God to draw unbelievers to himself, pray for the corporate singing, pray for the preaching of the Word, pray for the fellowship. Prepare for Sunday worship by praying for the Sunday gathering.

Being a local church member is more than engaging on Sunday morning but not less. So prepare to engage.
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