Just Thinking ...
Worship is still one of the chief portals for guests to enter the faith community, and it is for this reason we will be encouraging all pastors, lay leaders, worship leaders, musicans, greeters, ushers, and all others to make sure that, in the Atlanta Emory District, our worship is done with excellence.
We vow to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ through our Worship as a district. It is not news to any of you that this one hour can be the make-or-break of whether a guest will return or not. Therefore, I want to encourage all of you to make sure you are putting in the full amount of time and effort as you plan for worship. This cannot be a haphazard event, but rather one created in prayer and planning.
Yes, I believe in and encourage excellence in worship. You did not hear me say "perfection," but "excellence." We do our upmost to pray and plan together to create an experience that can move a person's heart, soul, and mind to the throne of Almighty God. Our hospitality must be radical. Our music must be from the heart and prepared as a gift to God. Our preaching must reflect study and discernment as well as personal conviction.
Are you, as the pastor, leading your people to pray and prepare for this kind of worship? In this worship we do not freak if it is less then perfect, because, if our hearts and intentions are geared to excellence, then God will take our gift and make it heavenly.
Yes, this is ultimately our gift to God. Worship is not about you and me, but about God and helping God's people to find their way to God's embrace of love, challenge, acceptance, and growth.
I encourage you all to re-read Bishop Schnase's first two chapters in his book, Five Practices of Fruitful Congregation which are entitled "Radical Hospitality" and "Passionate Worship." Out of the five practices in his book, two encompase our time of worship. That to me says this is important.
As we gather to worship as clergy next Monday, August 8th, I want you to come ready to worship God and to experience God's power in this hour given to God. I want you to come and allow God's Holy Spirit to wash over you and to see the heart of God. I pray you will be refreshed and renewed as you lift up holy hands to our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.
Then, let's vow to go home and to do the best we can to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ through our most excellent worship.