There is a statistic that says the average Christian goes to church once every 3 weeks. For myself, and many of the people that I serve with, we attend a bit more frequently than that. The Church that I serve currently hosts 4 weekend services and we have held multiple services a weekend for around 7 years now. That means every weekend there are 4 separate gatherings of people, 4 different worship settings (same songs, but different crowds), and 4 different opportunities to preach God’s word.
Here’s what I’ve come to realize. What happens during a church service is much less dependent on what’s happening on a stage or platform, and much more dependent on what’s going on in the hearts of the people than we realize. Often we put an emphasis on a worship team being well prepared both musically and spiritually and rightfully so. In addition, we look to who will be teaching or preaching that day to be fresh, engaging, and to make the Word of God relevant to our life. We should have that expectation as well. However, being able to observe 4 services a weekend has brought home a reality. A worship team can be completely prepared, a Pastor can be ready to preach with passion, but a crowd can shut it all down. Afterall, not even Jesus could heal anyone in Nazareth.
Here’s 3 things I’ve learned about creating an atmosphere that allows God to move in our services:
- Faith and Expectation Moves the Heart of God
It doesn’t matter how full the room is, but it does matter how full the hearts of people are with faith and expectation. Recently I preached to our noon service. It was an unusually low crowd which meant the room was less than half filled. The service before it was full and lifeless. The noon service was sparse, but there were a group of people there ready to worship and receive the Word of God. During that very low attendance service, 4 people gave their lives to Jesus. Again, how many people are in the room isn’t as important as how much faith and expectation is in the room. I think we underestimate the power of being in the room during a worship service. I mean really being present and engaged in the room. Don’t just go to church this weekend, go to church this weekend with faith and expectation
2. Worship Creates an Atmosphere
Those who hunger and thirst will be filled. It’s a promise from God. This is probably redundant given my previous thought, but it doesn’t matter how many people are in a room, it matters how much worship is in a room. I’ve personally witnessed weekends where God’s presence filled a room and lives were touched, and on the same weekend, there were services that never got off the ground. It was the same worship team, the same worship songs, the same sermon, and the same communicator, but the difference was worship. If you fill a room with worship, God will fill a room with His presence. It helps to remind myself that not only do I need God’s presence, but there are other people in the room who need God’s presence as well. That’s why I make a point to be in the worship session in all 4 services. I may have already encountered God’s presence that day, but I’m worshipping for the one who hasn’t.
3. The Team is the Thermostat of the Church
I don’t know where this quote came from, but I love it. It’s been said that we should “be a thermostat and not a thermometer.” In other words, don’t walk into a room and take the temperature, rather walk in determined to set the temperature. That’s very true, but I’ve realized one or two people can’t do that on their own. It takes a team of people being determined to set an atmosphere of worship, expectancy, faith, excitement, warmth, and hospitality. In a big picture way, it’s how we love people. When a team of people takes ownership of creating this type of atmosphere it transforms a building into the House of God. A place that is welcoming, a place that is loving and accepting, a place where people can encounter God’s presence, and a place where people can be forever changed.
As believers lets be consistent in our attendance, but let’s also be missionaries in our church services. Let’s attend church on a mission to build faith and expectation, to set an atmosphere of worship, and to serve people with a passion. Those things transform an ordinary room into an atmosphere where Jesus can be Jesus.