Read Psalm 100
1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation. (NLT)
One of the more challenging tasks of a church leader each Sunday is sorting out what happens when in the church service. Can we fit everything in? What is the best sequence? Will everyone turn up to do their allotted duties? Perhaps the prior question is to do with why we actually meet in the first place.
Some church gatherings can lapse into concert performances. Others become promotion and recruiting meetings—a showcase for what the church is doing and planning to do. Join up, sign up, get involved, get excited. Or they can be a bit like a lecture theatre: come along and make copious notes as someone tells us interesting information—hopefully linked somehow to the Bible.
We may miss the underlying point of gathering together. Which is to encounter the living God and give him praise and honour. Of course this involves a variety of activities: singing, preaching, praying, and, we hope, listening to the Scriptures. But these various activities are there to serve the major aim.
Church is more about God than about us. Our relationship with him comes before our relationship with others. We certainly enjoy one another’s company, but if that is the main point, we may just as well have a picnic or go to a restaurant together.
Whenever we start complaining that church is boring or tedious or routine, it is likely we have lost sight of the primary purpose of gathering together. Encountering the living God is anything but boring.