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The Spectator

The key to worshipping together and benefiting each other is the personal worship that has been taking place in the week. Generally, there are two classes of people in our churches and they each speak a different language and come to church with a different attitude so, who are they, and which camp are you in? In this post, I’m looking at the Spectator; this is generally someone who attends an event and watches the participants. In a spiritual sense, they are:

  • Someone looking for a spiritual ‘high’ each week
  • Someone who attends church, miles from where they live
  • Someone looking to have their needs met; they expect a programme
  • Someone who comes to church out of tradition
  • Someone who comes to church just in time for the sermon

During the worship service….

  • Someone prays for them
  • Someone collects their offering
  • Someone preaches to them
  • They may sing a hymn or two
  • They receive numerous warnings to be reverent in the sanctuary

You can tell a spectator by the language they speak. They say things like:

  • “Who’s preaching today?”
  • “I’m going to church to get a blessing”
  • “Church was long; boring; dry”
  • “I didn’t get anything out of that” *
  • “I didn’t like the way that was done”

* I’m not saying you shouldn’t ‘get anything’ out of church; on the contrary, Paul say, “Let everything be done for edification” – we should be spiritually filled and emotionally satisfied, from being in the presence of the Lord but, that should not be the primary purpose for attending. Worship is an action-word and, as we offer our worship, we are personally benefited and the church-at-large is also blessed to see how God is working in the lives of fellow-believers.

There may be a number of reasons for the Spectator’s language, including but not exclusively the following:

  • Tiredness
  • Lack of involvement in the service
  • An ineffective worship facilitator; song leader, praise team
  • Pre-occupation with the cares of life (things are taking their minds off the worship)
  • No spiritual roots – follows after popular speakers; chases a weekly high
  • No worship experience in the preceding week

There are dangers in being a spectator. Over the process of time and, based on learned behaviours, we have made ourselves ‘like gods’ because we come, we ‘sit on our thrones’ and expect to be pleased by those who appear before us. We have deluded ourselves and have become the one who is to be pleased – this is in direct contrast to David who says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 The emphasis should be on pleasing God and not ourselves. It is easy for a spectator to become bored because, they are not involved and this makes it more likely that they will stop coming, go visit another church, or simply watch online, at home because, there’s very little difference between being in church and at home.

The question must be asked; “can you be bored when you’re in the presence of God? Not according to the Scriptures, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore”. Psalm 16:11 If boredom persists, it is for one, or more, of the following reasons;

  1. Those facilitating the worship have done nothing to engage or challenge the spectator
  2. The spectator has ‘more pressing’ things on their mind; hearts far away. (Isaiah 29:13)
  3. The spectator did not come with any “thanksgiving” or “praise”. (Psalm 100:4)
  4. There is no opportunity to express personal worship.

When you’re in church but, “the cares of life” are occupying your heart and mind, you dishonour God and, such ‘worship’ is unacceptable to Him.

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