Don’t Waste Your Digital Worship
…when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain. 1 Thessalonians 3:5
When Paul wrote these words to the Thessalonian church, he was reflecting on his painful struggle to return to the church after being torn away from them in persecution. During Paul’s absence, the Thessalonians underwent the persecutions common to the early Church. Paul was desperate to return to them to see if their faith was sincere. Were they still standing on the firm foundation of Christ, or had the pressures around the Thessalonian church proven them to be frauds? They were still clinging to Christ, praise God!
May that be said of Ridgeview Bible Church today and in the coming months. It would be wrong to compare COVID-19 to what our forefathers underwent (See 2 Corinthians 11:23-28). But, in this time we must not be naive of the things that will draw us away from Christ and his Church.
So, be vigilant, church! Take this time to seriously pursue Christ lest we like so many walk away from what we once claimed to love.
In honor of a previous blog title aptly named after a well known book, let’s not WASTE these opportunities to digitally worship together. I have five challenges for us all that have convicted me in this new mode of church the past few weeks.
Fill your Saturday evening and Sunday morning with prayer to God for our Sunday gathering and others. Pray for the pastors that God would give them wisdom and incite to know what to speak to encourage us, challenge us, call us to repentance, and magnify our God. Pray for God to remove distractions in the livestream. Pray for the Church that their needs would be found in Christ. Pray for the musicians to play with humility and reverence, directing our hearts in worship. Watching a service on a screen does not negate the need to pray ceaselessly.
2. Stand and Sing Your Heart Out (if able)
I don’t say this because standing is the only proper way to sing in church. But I do think attempting to imitate our orderly worship service as much as possible in this time is a great way to remind us what we are doing when we gather in our living rooms to sing together, apart. Remember who you are singing to. It’s not to a screen but to holy God. Fill your home with your voices of praise.
3. Don’t Eat Breakfast During the Service
This is only one example of many distractions that must be removed when we gather digitally to worship together. Plopping down on your couch with a big meal and consuming the Sunday service on your TV will only distract from seeing and worshiping God. In the same way, turn your phone off. Remind your children that worshiping together through a screen is NOT the same thing as watch the latest Disney flick.
Set a goal to reach out to a handful of congregants to encourage them Sunday afternoon or throughout the next week. Share what you learned. Ask them the same. Ask how you can pray for them. Seek ways to serve them. Be intentional with them.
Use your hands and feet to identify needs and seek ways to meet them. Give of your time and talents. Give financially. Give sacrificially. Serving the church under restrictions will look a little different of course, so we need to be creative in order to maximize our time and talents. As Pastor Mike said Sunday, we are all needy people. COVID-19 did not make us needy. We have always been needy, so those of us who have hope in Christ must share that hope to our church and community.