C.S. Lewis described the “perfect worship service” as one you almost don’t realize you are attending because God has your complete focus. In other words, God’s presence becomes so real you almost forget you’re sitting in your church service.
There is a huge push in churches these days to make the service “worshipper friendly.” The focus is on pulling in as many people as we can into a Sunday morning service to hear the gospel of God. So we change things to make the service easier for people to come and listen and hear it.
That’s not a bad desire, in and of itself. People are more willing to come when things are comfortable. If the building was too hot, the chairs too hard, and the speaker too hard to understand chances are good that the building would soon be emptier, if not completely empty. And what good is an empty building.
The problem is when pulling people in becomes the focus and primary reason for the entire service. The point of the Sunday morning service isn’t to see how many people can be crammed into one building. What’s happening on a Sunday morning is bigger than that, it’s bigger than us.
At that moment the body of Christ, sons and daughters of the living God, WE the Church are coming together to glorify God the Father, because of the faithfulness of the Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We have a bigger purpose than just seeing how many people we can bring through those doors. We are here to meet with, and glorify the Living God.
And if He shows up, those hard chairs and that too hot room won’t matter as much. Trust me.
Maybe as a church we need to stop asking ourselves “how do we get more people in through those doors”. Maybe we need to ask “is this part of the service focusing our attention on God?” If there’s a distraction where I’m sitting, maybe I need to change seats. If the service is doing something that removes the attention from God, maybe it needs to be stopped.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to be so completely focused on God and in His presence that you almost forget you’re in a building!
Believer, may we learn to keep two things in tension. May we always be friendly, reaching out to visitors, welcoming and meeting someone new, inviting friends and family to come with us. Those are good things! But may our focus always be on God, not on our numbers. May our primary concern be that God is here and we are meeting with Him.
And one day, may God be so gracious to fill our buildings with His presence in such potent measure that we almost forget we are meeting in a building at all, instead of before the throne of the living God.