The Heart Of Our (return to in-person) Worship

If you’re in Bahrain and an active part of our church family, Saar Fellowship, you know that about a week ago we were given blessing to organise and hold in-person worship services again.

It’s been a while: Friday 28th February 2020 was our last in-person gathering. As we work through the myriad number of guidelines and public health requirements that we need to follow to hold a service it would be good just to pause and think about the whys and the whats of our gatherings. 

First, let’s get some don’ts out of the way.

We don’t gather for a slick, well produced worship experience. If your church’s services are like that, kudos to them. If they’re not, that’s fine too. 

We don’t gather for a free cup of weak coffee and a cheap biscuit. 

We don’t gather so that we have a place to offload our kids for an hour a week. 

We don’t gather to have all of our personal preferences met and all of our felt needs pampered. 

So why do we gather?

We regularly lay aside time to gather with and as God’s people because the Christian life is lived in community (Hebrews 10.24-25, for example). For a few months this has been gathering in much smaller groups and then connecting with other groups online, but still, we’ve been gathering.

We gather to edify, encourage, and equip one another (1 Peter 4.10, for example).

We gather to amplify and magnify God’s presence in our individual lives through the common faith that we share (Jude 1.3, for example).

What we do flows from why we do it. 

 

Why > What

For this next season of our church life, things will be different. There will be some people gathering in person, some people gathering online. There will be things we did before that we are not doing for the moment. It will be a more compact and condensed service.

The important thing to remember is that the why is more important than the what.

We gather because God is great, God is faithful, and God is deserving of our worship. How that looks is always going to be contextual, and for this next season, our context is a little different to before. Things won’t be like this forever, this is simply a step in the process of our return to pre-pandemic gatherings. 

So, as we move towards to the joyous prospect of an in-person service later this month, Lord willing, consider why we do church more than the what of church.

The whats will all return at some point, but our why never changes.

 


 

When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless Your heart

I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus

King of endless worth
No one could express
How much you deserve
Though I’m weak and poor
All I have is Yours
Every single breath!

I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart, yeah

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus
I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus


Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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