“Worship is warfare.” – Warren Wiersbe
A decreasing number of persons in the US participate in a worship service on any particular weekend. One set of figures suggests that only about 14% of the population engages in some form of corporate worship on a typical weekend. That figure alone should be disturbing, but let me pose another one. “Do they go to church or do they go to worship?”
Many generations raised in more church-going times have developed a strong habit of “going to church.” But so often they go for very personal reasons such as “to be fed” or for more horizontal purposes – “to see their other church-going friends.” A good way to test that is to attend a traditional service and see what happens when the prelude begins. Do people become settled and prayerful and begin preparing through prayer and quiet meditation–or do they talk back and forth to their friends or walk the aisles greeting one another. Does laughter pierce the reverence?
The apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6 that we are to arm ourselves for battle. “We wrestle not with flesh and blood … so that when the day of evil comes; having done all, we will still stand.” (My paraphrase). People need to be gathering in corporate worship to have a life-transforming encounter with an awesome God. Worship empowers us in that spiritual warfare. It arms us so that we can withstand and stand.
But that kind of worship doesn’t just happen because we are present in the pew when the Call to Worship is pronounced. It happens because we have prepared ourselves physically to be free of distractions, we have prepared our hearts to be honest and open and humble before God, and have dealt in advance with those relational issues can destroy the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace.
Being the best church for the community involves genuine worship–and such churches teach their people to prepare for that encounter with an awesome God.