I’m back from our vacation to West Virginia. The tent and sleeping bags are unpacked, the rabbits are running free in our home, and I am once again in the daily grind of blogging. Before leaving for vacation I posted a few thoughts on why we go to church over at Mere Mission. First of all, I should note that I’m aware that you can’t actually “go” to church. We are the church. The church gathers as a community in one location. For simplicity’s sake, I decided to not worry about precise words. Secondly, my original statement assumed that there is a communitarian focus. In addition, I was trying to avoid familiar terms such as “worship” in order to be as clear as possible in making my point. Worship can mean a lot of things to a lot of people.
Here is my original statement: We go to church in order to hear God and to encourage one another.
While some liked it, one person said that it had nothing to do with worship. This resulted in a lengthy reply that strove to clarify my intention. It is my belief that an integral part of public worship is corporately hearing from God. My mistake with my statement was that I left out the part where we respond to God corporately. The typical error made by most churches is a lack of corporate listening to God. We simply respond and begin talking to God. This can create a tremendous disconnect between ourselves and God.
So after hammering out some ideas, I realized that perhaps it’s worth talking a little bit more about what exactly worship is. It cannot just be what we say to and do for God. It is necessary to first hear from him, to find what’s on his heart, to experience him, to receive his guidance. How else can we respond meaningfully to God? In addition, another problem we face in the church is that a lot of individuals are hearing from God, but they do not possess an appropriate means to share it with the rest of the group. Perhaps this is what true worship leaders are supposed to be about: possessing a sensitivity to the working of God’s Spirit in a congregation. They know when to lead a prayer or song, when to speak, when to be silent, and when to open things up for others.
In light of these thoughts, I have modified my manifesto on why we go to church:
“We go to church in order to corporately hear and respond to God and to also encourage one another.”