5 things that make it a good day at church

churchI attended three different churches (including my own) in the last seven days while we were in and out of town.

I was encouraged by each, yet all three were different.

Was it common factors that made them all uplifting?

Or did they each bring something unique?

Here are five things I noticed:

1. Look up
Each church had this in common: God was mentioned. A lot. He wasn’t just another visitor on the pew, but was the focal reason for the gatherings. He is the point, after all.

2. Open Bible
The Word was prevalent in all three churches too. Not just through readings (although there were several), but through songs, through applications, through individual stories.

3. Sing out
Each also shared this: praise was hearty. Songs were sung to the Lord, about him, for him. With truth and with feeling.

4. Pray/talk together
If I don’t connect with someone while I’m there (other than God, of course), I walk away feeling a little empty.

Church # 1 had 10 minutes in the middle of their service for individual praying, either with leaders spread throughout the auditorium or for praying with your neighbor on the pew. It was nice for Jeff and I to have our own prayer time in the midst of the larger congregation.

Church # 2 offered two questions to consider among each other as we broke bread together for the Lord’s Supper. I treasured the conversation time because my heart was heavy with the sermon message and I wanted to talk it over right then with Jeff instead of having to wait until we were back in the car (I probably would have forgotten by then!).

Church # 3 provided this time in classes. In the class I attended, we each shared strengths and weaknesses in our faiths, then read Moses’ words encouraging Joshua, then prayed. 

5. Act later
I need this push: Now go spread God’s love outside of church.

Church # 2 made the most visible effort to activate others to become like Jesus, including manned tables in their lobby with suggestions of ways to get involved. One goal the night we visited was to get 40 children sponsored through Compassion International.

This list of 5 is certainly NOT all-inclusive. Each church has its own ways of applying scripture to their gatherings, loving the Lord, and building others up to love him and love each other.

What is something encouraging that YOUR church does?

Please share in the comments.

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13 comments:

Adoption Mama said...

Definite important marks of a church where Christ is honored. Thank you for reminding me why I do what I do on Sundays.

Kathie said...

Very interesting! My dh and I don't often get to attend other churches as he is the pastor of ours :) But I always like to hear what is unique to each. Sounds like they are all finding their own way to bring glory to the Lord and fulfill His commission.

Thanks for sharing, Lisa!

Susanne said...

I love that each church has it's own "flavor" and ways to encourage their congregations. It's always great to pick up new ideas that might be implemented in my own congregation.

Gattina said...

I just ask myself when I have been to church last time, probably for a funeral !

Jerralea said...

I love hearing how different and yet the same these three churches were! May all our churches praise heartily, mention God a lot, share scripture and pray together!

Barbara H. said...

I'm so glad that Scripture leaves it open for a wide range of personality and practices among churches, that we're not required to be cookie cutter assemblies.

One thing I like about our new church is that on Wed. nights the pastor takes a few moments for volunteers to share about what they've been learning in their own Bible readings. It's been really interesting.

Susan@FruitfulWords said...

Barbara, I appreciate the same thing, that God doesn't require His Church to be imitations of each other. I also like your pastor's idea of publicly asking folks what they've been learning.

Great post, Lisa. Since I work for the church (on staff) I don't get to attend many other church services so I like hearing how others structure their time together.

Our pastor always ends his sermons with applications. This encourages me b/c I have something written down that I can follow up on. If I don't have it written down I am more likely to forget all about it once I leave the church building.

Lisa notes... said...

I’m glad, too, that our churches don’t all have to look exactly alike. It’s hard enough to have agreement on style within a single church; I can’t imagine how it would be among ALL the churches. Ha.

As long as we stay centered on Jesus, we’re on the right track.

Barbara, I love what your pastor does to let people share what they’re learning. It not only would be encouraging to hear what others share, but it probably encourages others to actually do some Bible study on their own.

One of our leaders used to open up meetings that way, asking us to share what we’d been studying on our own. It was always my favorite part.

Lisa notes... said...

Susan,
My husband and I co-teach a 5th grade Sunday school class every other quarter, so it is nice to have a quarter where we’re freer to visit around. It is usually very refreshing to get to see how others do things. And I can still download my own preacher’s sermons and not get behind on that. :-)

Our preacher usually ends with applications, too. It’s good. Sometimes I wish he would start with them though; it might hook me into the “why” a little earlier. But either way, they’re definitely a help!

And yes, if I don’t write them down, they’re gone. ;-) I’ve gotten out of the habit lately of writing them down, so your comment has encouraged to start again this Sunday.

Carrie said...

What a great post. Although many churches are different, it's wonderful to see someone appreciating and noting the valid points of the differences instead of just critiquing them.

Faith said...

awesome list of faves! how fun to experience different churches with different styles...love how the body of Christ is united in various ways....enjoy your weekend, Lisa!

ellen b. said...

I love the fact that you can be far away from your own home church and still find unity and fellowship in other churches. Believers together worshipping God is very uplifting. An encouraging thing about my church is that they reach out to the community at large...

nikkipolani said...

I like your observation about the pray/talk time at the various churches. That sounds like some of the best fellowship!

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