Moments of Awe and Wonder

I really enjoyed the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit last week. When we came out I asked our church trainee what he made of it. The first thing he said was "it's very American, isn't it?" Apologies to any Americans. It was quite American and quite attuned to their particular context. But it is always valuable to see how other people do things. It stops us getting stuck in the rut where we do things a certain way just because we always do them that way.

One of the phrases that kept being used was "worship experience." By which they meant what we Brits would call a church service. When I first heard it I winced slightly. But then I got to thinking, if you look up "church service" in a dictionary, you might well find it described as a worship experience. The Americans simply substitute our term for the meeting for a description of what you get in the meeting. The phrase describes what you expect to get. It replaces (bad) jargon with description.

And that made me think "what should we expect when we come to a church service?" I wonder what you anticipate when you set out for church on Sunday? Here are a few of the things I think the Bible tells us we ought to anticipate.

A rich mixture of:

  • Lifting our hearts to God together with delight in who he is
  • Sharing deep community with each other before God
  • Bearing each others' burdens and confessing our sins to one another
  • Everyone being trained and equipped to see all of our locality saved
  • Aligning our lives with God's truth so that we live for him week by week

All of which should be liberally sprinkled with moments of awe and wonder as we saturate our hearts with him.

I think I shall adopt a new phrase to replace "church service." I am tempted by "worship experience" but maybe "moments of awe and wonder" is more what I aspire that all services should be.