David Ripley, President

David Ripley, President

Vision Statement #6

“Cultivate a worship and guest care consciousness that builds relationships between unchurched people and God.”

 

Running on Empty

I remember times when I was in a hurry as I left the house. Then — beep, beep, beep! Low on gas! I would be so nervous, but if I stopped I would be late for my appointment. So I ignored the warning. Well those days did not go as I wished. You cannot ignore the empty warning on your car and expect your day to go smoothly.

When I was in college, I worked at a gas station pumping gas for people. (Today in most places we have to pump our own gas!) Especially in the mornings, my job was very busy as people came by to make sure they had enough fuel for their day.

Some of us think of church as a spiritual gas station.

We drag ourselves to church barely able to walk in because our spiritual gas tank is empty after a difficult week. We expect the preacher to spend 30 minutes to fill up our spiritual reserves. Our goal is to make it all the way through the coming week on this spiritual fill up.

fuel-2741_640Your spiritual gas tank is not that big! Every morning when your alarm clock wakes you up, your spiritual gas tank is sitting on empty. The beeper is saying, “Fill me up!” We must renew our spiritual reserves every morning all week long. As we fill up daily, our spiritual gas tank level is not so marginal each morning.  Then when Sabbath comes we are overflowing with the certainty of God’s goodness!

The Key to An Overflowing Tank

Do you want to experience the greatest blessing on Sabbath? You should come to church with your spiritual gas tank full and overflowing! Overflowing because you have spent time with God every day, all week long. Overflowing with the certainty that He has been working in your life during the successes and challenges that have been part of your journey.

Here is a definition that Lynn and I use in our published worship articles

“Worship is not what we do to get there, worship is where we are going. Worship did not start only after sin entered this world, as a new avenue back to God, but worship has always been and will always be a spontaneous response to the on-going presence of God. But we must daily worship God. Otherwise we can be in a worship service and not sense God is there. We will miss most of the potential blessing of worship if we do not prepare.”

Worship: It’s Not All About You

In Vision statement 6 ‘worship’ and ‘guest care’ are mentioned together. The reason for this is because the emphasis in statement 6 is on cultivating evangelistic worship. What this means is that when we plan worship it is not about me, it is about God and connecting people in our communities who do not know God with Him and heaven.

Because of the natural selfish human heart, we tend to ask questions like these each Sabbath: “What do I want from worship? What music do I want to hear? What content do I want in the sermon?  What do I want to see at the church building? What do I want the people to look like that are sitting around me? What do I want in the prayers? What do I want in a children’s story? And, what do I want to feel like when I leave church?

Do you see that we have an “I” problem when we approach church? We are asking the wrong questions, and there are no right answers to wrong questions! The right question is what does God want?

I believe the answer is God wants to have more and more people in worship connecting with Him every week.

We should take great care in designing our worship. Not to be pleasing to us personally, but to be pleasing to God, and designed to connect the guests, that God will send, with heaven.

A good place to start asking the right questions is to remember who we are as Seventh-day Adventists:

S.U.R.E. Specialness – Urgency – Relationship — Expectancy

  • We are a specially called out people for God’s purpose.
  • We have an urgent God given message to share.
  • We are to intentionally develop our relationship with God and others.
  • We should expect miracles to happen as we follow God in worship and in witness in our communities.

So I urge your church leadership team to spend time together asking the right questions!

How can we design worship to connect people in our church to Jesus? Every Sabbath should be designed as a guest emphasis Sabbath.

For you personally the best way for you to worship well is to prepare all week long; to come to church so full of heavenly spiritual blessings that we will overflow with love from above.

As more and more of the congregation prepares, first time guests will become regular attenders, and then, members, because they sense that God is at work in the hearts of the people in His church.

Lord Bless!

David

PDF IconWant to learn more about fulfilling worship? Check out David & Lynn Ripley’s article: Worship with Excellence and Understanding from the May 2016 “Ministry” Magazine, the international General Conference magazine for pastors.

 

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Learn More: This article is part of a series focused on making the new Man-Sask Mission & Vision practical and applicable.

– Where did this Mission & Vision come from?
– How will it make a difference?
– How will it impact you?

Check out previous articles in the series here