7 ways you can #ownthemission
On Sunday, we kicked off our new series “His Mission Our Mission”, and Rod’s first step for us to own the mission was to join a Home Group. My hope is that Sunday’s talk has whet your appetite and made you think about owning God’s mission for the church for yourself.
A few years ago I read a helpful and challenging article called “Ministry of the Pew” by Col Marshall. You can find this article here if you’re interested.
The point of this post is to pull out the gold from Col’s article and challenge us afresh at Wollongong Baptist Church. So, with that in mind, here are seven ways you can take ownership of our Sunday church services.
1. Pray, pray and pray
Pray on the way to church, pray as you enter church and pray while you are at church! On the way to church, pray for your own heart, intercede for the servants preparing at church, and plead with God that the service will be an encouragement to believers and be engaging for non-believers. As you enter church, pray about where you will sit and whom you will sit next to. While you sit in church, pray that God’s Spirit will be at work convicting sinners and saints to worship Jesus as their Lord.
2. Arrive early to church
For two reasons: to welcome visitors and warmly greet church family. If you invited friends to your house, you would make sure you were home when they arrived. It should be the same at church. In many ways church should be our second home, where we welcome the lost and love the found. Visitors will often arrive early to church, so when we arrive 15 minutes early rather than 15 minutes late it gives us a great opportunity to love them and show hospitality.
3. Welcome everyone
What I love about the gospel is that Jesus died on the cross to welcome everyone who believes in him into the family of God. Sometimes we can find welcoming awkward and exhausting, and yet it’s nothing compared to what Jesus did for us to be welcomed into the Kingdom of God! A smile, a handshake and a simple, “Hi, my name is… I don’t think we’ve met before?” is an easy way to demonstrate that the gospel is open for all people.
4. Sit close to the front with other people
One way you can love the servants who serve you faithfully on Sunday’s (musicians, service leaders, Bible readers, preachers etc.) is by showing your enthusiasm to be there. And nothing demonstrates this like sitting closer to the front. Furthermore, by sitting up the front, you allow for any latecomers to find a seat quickly up the back (not that I’m encouraging coming late – see point #2). Also, sit with other people, sit next to new people, sit next to people you know well, but sit next to someone! It’s hard to encourage one another (Hebrews 10:25) when there’s no one in arms reach!
5. Sing with gusto
Church is not a concert. The musicians up the front are not there to sing on our behalf but to lead and encourage us in our praises to our glorious God. When it comes to singing at church, it’s everyone’s responsibility to sing. One sure fire way to discourage those around you is to sing softly, or not at all! But if you want to encourage the people around you then sing loudly, passionately, and like you mean the lyrics you are singing! It takes practice to train our hearts to do this, because it’s more natural for us to think about ourselves and how we look to others rather than how we look to our glorious God.
6. Be ready, be engaged and be attentive during the sermon
Just like in singing, your engagement during the sermon affects the quality of the sermon. If you walk into church tired, distracted and disinterested then within minutes you will be checking Facebook on your phone or taking a nap in the hands to face “prayer pose.” Be ready for the sermon, but also work at being engaged and attentive during the sermon. The preacher’s energy and ability to communicate is dependent on the congregation’s willingness to listen, learn and apply. So nod your head when you agree with a point, smile if you agree, laugh when there’s a joke (“ha!”), make eye contact with the preacher, have your Bible open and take notes. Model to the church and visitors that we love the Bible and want to be changed into the image of Jesus.
7. After the service: eat, talk and pray
Stay for morning tea, supper or dinner. Eat with people. Get to know people, make some small talk, ask about each other’s weeks and ask “what did you find encouraging about the service?” or “how can I pray for your this week”. And then pray! And model to everyone else the power of prayer and the care of the saints.
So there you go. Seven ways that owning the mission of God will transform your experience on Sundays at Wollongong Baptist Church.
Praying for God’s work,
Pastor Joel Deacon