How do you usually walk into church? Hurried, running late? Groggy, but with coffee in hand? Hesitant, unsure of what to expect? Dutiful, sensing your obligation? Expectant, ready to worship and encounter God?
Tony Payne1 offers a very simple and practical, but unique approach to walking into church:
If you understand what the Bible says about church – about what church is, and why we go there, and what we’re supposed to do while we’re there – then there is one particular way of walking into church that you would want to master. This way of walking into church beautifully expresses what church is and what it’s meant to be, and why we’re all there. It is this: We should walk into church praying about where to sit.
First, Tony writes that when we walk into church praying, we are putting ourselves in the right frame of mind towards God.
When we pray about where to sit in church, we’re expressing our trust in God for what will happen in church today. We are looking to him and calling upon him as the Lord of the church.
We are also acknowledging that God is in charge of every aspect of church, and that our ideas and preferences and dreams about what church should be like come a distant second. We all have expectations or desires about what we will do at church, and what we will get out of it. But the church is God’s, not ours. The church is saved and assembled and ruled by God through the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one who calls us together, and in whose presence and for whose glory we meet.
Next, he points out that praying about where we should sit not only gives us a right perspective of God, but of our responsibility to others.
When we pray about where to sit, we’re also putting ourselves in the right frame of mind towards each other. We have started to think about church as being about someone other than me.
“This can be quite a mind-shift, but it’s a vital one. We come to church not only to be loved and blessed by God, but also to love and bless others around us. We come not to spectate or consume, nor even to have our own personal encounter with God. We come to love and to serve.
So what do you think? How could this simple prayer and perspective change the way you walk into church this Sunday?
- Payne, Tony (2015). How to Walk into Church. Sydney. Matthias Media. ↩