You’re dressed, kids are dressed, you’ve scoffed down breakkie, had a coffee to kick start the day, brushed your teeth, the kids are in the car—but you’ve forgotten something. It’s on the tip of your tongue, but what is it? Then it hits you—in the rush to get ready for church you’ve forgotten to get ready for church!
When you go to a restaurant for dinner you get ready—bookings, clothes, money, baby sitters and so on. You check out the restaurant and make sure it’s up to scratch. Read a few reviews, ask a few friends. Or the movies—you check out what you want to see, read a review or two—usually you go with some understanding of what the movie is about.
So how do you get ready for church? It’s more than clothes and breakfast, making sure you’ve got your offertory money and your warmest jumper—churches can purchase functional heaters – who knew?? Getting ready for church should be a spiritual personal preparation.
If the preacher turned up unprepared we’d be justifiably a bit miffed. Once maybe?? Regularly—we’d be asking all sorts of important questions. But the reality is all of us should be getting ready for church—spiritually. For example we read in Colossians;
”Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17)
We can come without preparation, and we can minister without preparation but if it’s important then we should be prepared. If we come together to teach and admonish each other—that is to encourage each other to grow and mature as God’s people and to do that in the name of Jesus surely the best thing to do—at the very least—would be to pray before we come to church about the people we will be meeting with, the opportunities we might have, or the ones we might make intentionally. I hope that you are praying regularly for our preachers and leaders as they serve us before God—and especially on Sundays before and during church—that they will teach the truth with integrity and honesty, that they will lead us with joy and humility, that the Lord will use them to encourage and enthuse our churches. We are told in God’s word that we “do not have, because we do not ask God.” if we want a church where there is love and joy and peace, where all are welcome and cared for, where the word of Jesus is preached with passion—then we need to ask.
And there are other ways to prepare for church. If we are committed to learning from the sermons and preaching then why not read the passage and pray about it before church—the passages and topics are usually published each week for the coming week. What about bringing your own Bible and a pen ready to make notes—in the margins of your Bible even? What about ringing friends you haven’t seen at church for a few weeks and seeing if everything’s OK—and then pray for them and be ready to greet them at church. What about inviting people to church—that really does take preparation, prayer, commitment and a good relationship—who can you be inviting and praying for? Any Sunday is a good day to invite others—how can you prepare for them to come? You could ring a few Sunday School teachers and let them know you are praying for them—and then do so—or you could offer to help—pack up, set up, teach???
We could go on and on—there are all sorts of possible ways to get ready for church—if we focus on service and being prepared to serve then God will open up all sorts of opportunities, all sorts of ways for us to prepare for church.
Howdy Kojak – thanks 4 comments.