Is it important to get involved in church beyond worship?
Life's richness can't be found in worship alone
The Rev. Nate Rovenstine, lead pastor, Lawrence Wesleyan Church, 3705 Clinton Parkway:
I grew up on worship services. I've heard my share of sermons, sung my quota of hymns and participated in my allocation of services.
Christ has used all of these things to shape my mind and heart. I can remember specific sermons in which God spoke to me. I have been, and continue to be, shaped by attending worship services.
However, the richness of life that Christ has for us cannot be found in a worship service alone. Christ's life is found in relationship - with him, and with others. Relationships cannot flourish as you stare at the back of someone's head in worship. Relationships happen as you look face to face in small groups, and as you work side by side in ministry.
This is when the church becomes the church. Churches should be a place where no one stands alone, and this cannot happen unless we commit ourselves to being a part of each other's lives.
Jesus said: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another" (John 13: 34).
Someone has compared Christianity to a group of porcupines on a cold winter's night: We know that we need each other, but the closer we get the more we hurt each other! The only way past this is to commit ourselves to forgive each other and move toward each other.
I encourage you to find ways to get involved in the life of a local church beyond the worship service. You might find it a bit uncomfortable at first, but if you persist, you will find the joys of fellowship; and from fellowship, you will discover that you are becoming more and more like Christ.
- Send e-mail to Nate Rovenstine at info@LWChurch.net.
Christ works through us beyond church walls
The Rev. Jeff Lilley, pastor, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 2211 Inverness Drive:
Each Sunday morning, community folks call the church asking, "What time is your service?" We duly answer, "Sunday School is at 9:30, worship is at 10:30."
A better answer to the question is "Our service is happening all the time, in every moment of our lives!" While worship is the seminal activity of a church, synagogue or mosque, it represents a very small percentage of the total ministry happening there.
Increasingly, small groups, community service to those in need, outreach, mission work and social activities are expanding the ministry of churches beyond worship.
Relationships forged over framing a house for Habitat for Humanity bear fruit as members see in one another the work God is doing in the world. The joy of God's grace experienced in sharing bread with LINK clients is evidence of the relationship with God we proclaim each time we worship. The powerful experience of studying sacred texts adds immeasurably to the experience of hearing those texts again in the context of worship.
By going deeper into the life and activity of a faith community, we go deeper into worship itself.
Unfortunately, there is a growing tendency for people to seek a "powerful" worship experience, but a reluctance to become "too involved" in the greater life of the church.
By getting involved beyond worship, one is afforded the opportunity not only to be served, but also to serve others, and therefore to serve God. This is a faith life which is deeper, richer and more prayerful than attending worship alone.
- Send e-mail to Jeff Lilley at firstname.lastname@example.org.