“When I was little we used to play church. We’d get the chairs into rows, fight over who’d be preacher, vigorously lead the hymn singing, and generally have a great, carnal time. The aggressive kids naturally wanted to be up front, directing or preaching. The quieter ones were content to sit and be entertained by the up-fronters. Occasionally we’d get mesmerized by a true sensationalistic crowd-swayer. But in general, if the up-fronters were pretty good, they could hold their audience quite a while. If they weren’t so good, eventually the kids would drift off to play something else, like jump rope or jacks. Now, that generation has grown up, but most of them haven’t changed too much. Every Sunday they still play church. They line up in rows for the entertainment. If it’s pretty good, their church may grow. If it’s not too hot, eventually they’ll drift off to play something else – like yachting or wife swapping.”
I have been a believer for nearly 40 years. I have spent enough of my life “playing church,” haven’t you? Maybe, like me, you long for something more than just going through the motions. Maybe within your heart beats a deep desire for an experience more powerful than religious entertainment. Maybe, like me, you long for genuine, active worship that goes beyond the church walls.
When you hear the word “worship” what picture comes to mind? My guess is that you thought of a room with pews or chairs, instruments, songs and hymns, and people singing at the top of their lungs. Did you know worship can take place outside of church, too? Did you realize many times what you call worship isn’t worship at all because your heart is not in the right place at the right time?
Perhaps one of the most moving and memorable worship experiences of my life had only two in attendance: God and me.
If we define worship as enjoying the presence of God and realize God is ever present with us, then we can worship anytime or any place: driving in your car, sitting at your desk, lying in your bed, relaxed in your recliner. It doesn’t matter where!
In fact, Scripture makes it clear that worship was never intended to be only for corporate services. Psalm 119:164 challenges us by saying, “Seven times a day I praise you, because of your righteous judgments.” The truth is, unless we learn to worship God everyday throughout the week, we are probably not worshiping him on Sundays. We may just be “playing church” and settling into routine. Let’s not give up corporate worship–we are commanded to be there. However, let’s make it mean something. Let’s get our heart into the right place. Let’s remember all that God has done for us. Then, we will be more ready to really go out and live this worship thing.