"Church Service" conjures up thoughts of a schedule. I see my self-assigned seat in the back row--easy to slip back into after the praise songs. If I allow myself, I can imagine being in the sanctuary listening to a sermon, can see those who surround us each week.
If we stretch a little bit further, we can identify a specific type of service that reflects musical style and preference. Most would consider it "worship" style and define the style as traditional, contemporary, or mixed. Whether hymns or praise songs, organ or electric guitar and drums, it doesn't really make the experience. Worship is really about our personal experience and allowing ourselves to focus on our reverence for an awesome God.
The type of music, dress code, and time of day do not define real church service. Not diminishing the importance of the gathering of believers to learn, grow, and support each other, I believe that we fail if we focus on those we see each Sunday morning.
Matthew 9:12 "On hearing this, Jesus said, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick."
Real Church Service begins when we intentionally look beyond ourselves, our friends, and our neighborhoods to serve a loving God. Too often we become comfortable and complacent in our lives. I live in a large home. I have a comfortable balance in my checkbook. I have a circle of friends who follow the teaching of Jesus Church. Without much effort, I could relax and become blind to the struggles of other people. I could become obsessed with the challenges of my privileged American life. As I have been known to tell my children, this world doesn't revolve around them, nor does it revolve around me.
In the eyes of God I am no better than someone who sleeps on a park bench, scavenges through a garbage dump, or even works the system to increase their monthly check. Everyone is loved and we are called to share the message of hope and love where we are sent--near or far. Until the last few years, I would have never guessed that I would long for trips to Guatemala and dream about one day visiting Africa.
Matthew 28:19-20 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
The inspiration for this post came from Pastor Bobby, one of the coolest people I have ever met! In a few shorts days I gained so much respect for him and truly appreciated our time together.