When you arrive at your church, I encourage you to consider these seven things:
1. Welcome others by saying hello (no matter if you are officially a “greeter”). Most people in large cities do not make eye contact and few of us say anything to others throughout the week. While many people at your church may be strangers to you, take a few minutes to say hello – it will not hurt you :). While you are at it, go ahead and smile.
2. As a pastor, I authorize you to pick up trash you see lying on the ground wherever you worship. If you are a member of a church, take the initiative to correct something you see is wrong. Look for people who are lost inside the building and offer to walk them to the worship center or a Bible study group.
Or, if you are able, park far away from the building in order that others may have the closest parking spots.
If you are really godly (tongue in cheek), sit closer to the front. By sitting up front, you will have less distractions and you will free up more room in the back of the worship center for late-comers.
3. Pray during the invitation time or before. Each one of us is responsible for setting the culture inside our church. Most churches offer some way to respond to the pastor’s message and this response time is serious.
Our church offers two ways to respond: 1) an invitation time at the end of each worship service where you can pray with someone, or 2) you can stop by the Encourager’s Room where people are trained to answer your spiritual questions. No matter how your church does this, the time is important as it is an opportunity where God is working on our hearts of people. So pray for the Spirit of God to be active and be sure not to distract others.
4. Encourage someone. Look around you as there are many who need your love. Actually stop to listen to people and don’t just quickly offer advice. Later on in the week, you may want to contact this person again (if appropriate) to let them know you are praying for them and thinking of them.
Take time to pray with people when they express needs. Let me say that again… take time to pray with people when they express needs. I would love to see more people spontaneously praying throughout the hallways of our church and I imagine most other pastors would as well.
5. Find a place to serve. All of us need to contribute to the needs of our church family. People need our service and we need to serve others. For those of you who attend NRHBC, check out the ministry gallery as this is place where we often communicate our needs.
6. Expect God to Move. For many, we expect very little when we come into the house of God. This shouldn’t be. God’s people come together for worship and if God is present, it will be extraordinary. We should expect nothing less than the Spirit of God to move through the lives of people. I am not saying that the building has to shake every time we come together for worship (see Acts 4:1-31) but God isn’t dead. God is very much alive and He loves to show His power. So expect God to move when you come together for worship and watch for what He is doing. And when you see His work in the lives of others, Celebrate (see Luke 15:7)!
7. Read your Bible and take notes. Don’t be content to be a listener only. Instead, become a disciple.
Discipleship is intentional. People who are serious about Jesus are also serious about His book. Your Bible should always be open during a sermon.
And behold! the power of the pencil… You remember what you write down much longer than what you simply hear. So take notes when you listen to a sermon. You can take notes in a special notebook (here’s what I use) and remember, it is not a sin to even mark in your Bible.
See you Sunday.