Pastor's Pondering


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Dear Worshipper

by Duane Mabee on January 12, 2017
On December 11, 2016, Gary Durbin wrote “An Open Letter to Worshippers”.  It is an excellent blog that was picked up by and distributed to church leaders around the nation.  I may print it for you at some point, but for now I would like to take a couple of weeks to focus on some of the individual points Gary made.  Gary is a worship leader and his letter comes from that perspective, but with a few minor adjustments it could have been written by a pastor. 

The blog starts by thanking you for coming to church, and I want do the same.  He wrote, “Thank you for coming to church.  You don’t have to be there, and we sometimes forget that as leaders.  The fact is this: You don’t have to be at church.  You choose to be at church.  My prayer is that you will be blessed because you came.” 

That’s true.  You don’t have to be here.  You come because you want to.  You want to worship with the people of North River.  You want to learn and grow in your faith.  You choose to make this a part of your week.  And, I appreciate that.  There are many places that you must go each week, but you choose to come to church – Thank You. 

Your role here is crucial.  You are a worshipper not just an attender and there is a huge difference between the two.  An attender is passive and needs to be entertained.  A worshipper actively contributes.  An attender is self-focused and criticizes.  A worshipper participates.  A worshipper connects with God, knowing that his or her heart attitude and participation is a gift to God.  My hope for you is that you will give all your energy and attention to God every time you come. 

Worship is not what happens on the platform.  It is not “the show”, the music or the preaching.  Those should be acts of worship for the people presenting them, but for you they are meant to be aids to help you worship.  Worship happens as you actively engage with God.  It is the transaction that takes place in your heart between you and your Savior. 

We strive to do our very best in every service.  That is part of our act of worship.  But, the quality of our performance doesn’t equal worship.  So, Gary encourages, “relieve yourself of the responsibility of inspecting our God presentation.  You will always find flaws, because we are flawed.  Instead, come expecting the presence of God.  God is not flawed.  He is perfect.  When you seek God in a fresh way every week, He will show you something new every time.  His presence is way better than our presentations.” 

If our presentation is flawless, but you don’t connect with God it will be an empty experience.  But, if you connect with God’s presence nothing else will matter.  I encourage you to come each week expecting to encounter the power and the presence of God.  It will change your experience.  It will change our church.