As promised a few days ago, here are some tips for preparing for the Sunday gatherings. Maybe some of them might seem very arbitrary and might not suit your particular context at all. Some of them might have an even wider application – i.e. small group gatherings, youth events, etc.
I never look at such tips as a rigid set of rules but more as ‘helpful tools’. Look in t he box and see what you need to help you (and your family) to have a Christ-centred focus that can also encourage/witness to others.
- IT’S NOT A FIX – while Sunday gatherings are great for praise, prayer, instruction and care – they will never replace your week-long daily devotional life. Therefore prepare yourself through the week. Pray for yourselves and those who will be ministering. Listen to God for ways in which he can use you to encourage someone with the way He has encouraged you throughout the week. What you will ‘input’ in your soul throughout the week will affect you and the rest of the congregation.
- DON’T COME SHOPPING – if you are approaching the Sunday gatherings as a consumer, you will set yourself up for disappointment. No one can satisfy such unhealthy expectations. You will be likely to be judgmental and your focus will be distorted. Come to give God glory and ready to serve your brothers and sisters. With such a focus – the gatherings will be revolutionized.
- EARLY NIGHT – this might be more relevant to some than others. If you’re a not a morning person, make sure you get to bed at a reasonable time so that you can be fresh next morning. You would be the best judge of what that would be.
- EARLY RISE – although tempting to have a ‘lie in’ – try to avoid that. Have a nice breakfast (with the family together, if not single), celebrating His provision. You could read a passage/Bible story and ask the Holy Spirit to enable those who will serve you this morning and set your own heart(s) right. If you get delayed – arguments and frustrations are far more likely to disrupt the morning. Maybe you can even get the clothes and the breakfast table ready the night before.
- GET THERE IN GOOD TIME – this will give you a chance to connect with people and get settled in with as few disruptions as possible for everyone. Lateness will often create frustration and it will possibly ‘rob’ you of precious time of worship.
- ONCE THERE – FOCUS AGAIN – I love churches where there is a friendly atmosphere yet before the service people just stop and prepare their minds and hearts – asking God to be focal point of their attention.