If you have been going to church for some time you know the drill. You show up, sing some songs, give an offering, and hear a sermon. Unfortunately, many Christians approach Sunday without much thought, and this should not be so. As believers in Jesus Christ we have very important responsibilities whenever our church family gathers. The first Christians called Sunday “The Lord’s Day.” It was a special day, for it was the day to remember and worship the Risen Jesus! The local church is an expression on earth of the glory of God’s grace. The responsibilities of a worshipper begin even before we arrive in the church parking lot. And those responsibilities extend beyond the conclusion of the sermon. What are these responsibilities of every believer in Jesus Christ?
1. Decide – You can’t be responsible in worship unless you first prioritize actually being there. If Sunday is in fact “The Lord’s Day” then we must see it as not being “our day.” Let us highly value the time we have once a week to gather and worship the Lord. There are many activities that we can do that are really wonderful. However, let us make sure we show the world and each other what is most important. Let us show the world that the tomb is empty as we gather to worship the Risen Jesus!
2. Prepare – Is it only the pastor and the musicians that need to prepare for worship? Are believers merely spectators to a worship event? The answer to both of these questions are a resounding NO! Every believer must be prepared to worship. We must prepare for worship by being in much prayer. Your pastor needs prayer as he prepares the sermon. You and your church family need prayer as they prepare to hear from God’s Word. Pray that the Holy Spirit would do a mighty work. Pray for those who might be there that do not yet know Jesus. Pray that God would be glorified and the gospel be made central. You should also try to read in advance the Scripture that will be preached. Also, make it a priority to go to bed at a decent hour on Saturday night so that you are refreshed for worship on Sunday Morning. What will you give to the Lord in the offering? Did you know that even the offering is an act of worship? Preparing our hearts, minds, and bodies for worship is a necessity, and it all begins by being prepared before we even arrive for the worship service.
3. Invite – Let us be motivated to invite others to worship with us each Sunday. Who are those people who are within our sphere of influence that are unchurched or do not yet know Jesus? Let us be intentional about inviting them to join us for worship on the Lord’s Day. This is a responsibility that is not just for the leadership of the church, but for every person who has gathered for worship. You are a disciple. Jesus calls disciples to make more disciples. Yes, we must be disciples who are making disciples who are making disciples. This is the mission of the gospel for all those who belong to Jesus. Also it is of upmost importance that we greet those who are guests for the worship service. There should never be a time when a guest is not greeted, welcomed, and encouraged. Don’t be the last one in and the first to leave. Take the initiative of doing what is necessary to be kind and friendly to all.
4. Expect – It is easy to fall into the trap of just going through the motions of a Sunday Morning worship service. Here we go again…another sermon…another choir song. May it not be so! May we never attend out of duty, but out of delight as we worship our God. It’s all about your heart attitude. Let us instead come with expectant hearts. What are you expecting to happen? Let us think through the message of each song we sing. Let us consider every verse in the sermon that is preached. If it helps, be sure to take notes as the sermon is preached. Let us expect to actually meet the Lord! Would you sing any different if you could physically see Jesus? May we worship with expectant hearts because He is here! May we come with expectant hearts to worship before an audience of One.
5. Respond – The songs have been sung, the offerings have been given, brothers and sisters have been greeted and loved, and now the sermon has been preached. Now what? The worship of God should always move us to respond. Has it reminded us of the gospel? Has it shown us the love of God? Has it shown us a God who is Holy and good? Once the truth has been sung and preached there must be a response from God’s people. What will you do with what you just heard? What do you need to change? Where is repentance necessary in your life? Who do you need to encourage? What did you learn about God that you did not know before? Why does all of this matter?
Please don’t think your responsibilities end when the service does. During the week, look up all the scriptures that were preached. Search the Scriptures yourself. Worship never ends. It should continue beyond the conclusion of every worship service. When you get home continue to reflect and respond to God about what you witnessed. Pray. Review the worship service with your family. Then, as the following Sunday approaches, prepare your heart to repeat these steps again.