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Mornings with Jeff and Rebecca

Rebecca’s Top 5: Ways To Get More Out Of Church

A few years ago I recall sitting in the church pews in a grouchy mood. I didn’t like the music, I didn’t like the sermon, and I didn’t want to be there. Can you relate?

Later, reading through the book of Hebrews, I came across this passage: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (10:24–25).

I realized that my church was not my problem.

I was my problem.

When we approach church selfishly, we’ll inevitably end up frustrated. I had treated church like I treated shopping—looking for things tailored to my taste. You know, making it all about “me.”

When we approach church properly, remembering that it’s about orienting our hearts toward God and our hands and feet toward others, we will enjoy the experience and grow in maturity. Here are the top five ways to get more out of your church experience.

1. Come to church expecting to see God move. The Spirit of God is alive, active, and moving among his people. Ask the Lord to speak to you through the worship music, the liturgy, and the sermon. Prepare your heart to receive both encouragement and correction.

2. Arrive a little early and stay a little late. Most churches have fellowship halls for just that—fellowship. Take advantage of the free coffee and make conversation with those who are serving. Make eye contact and smile at people. Plus, you will enjoy the service much more if you aren’t rushing in at the last second and scrambling to get your kids taken care of. Afterward, linger for a minute to tell the pastor you appreciate his sermon or the worship leader that you appreciate the music.

3. Get plugged in. In a large church, you need to do this to get to know people. In a smaller church, chances are they need you and your gifts. The fastest way to feel like you belong to a church is to serve and take advantage of the programs they offer.

4. Take notes. Two things happen when you write out your observations during the service: Number one, you remember more. Research published in Psychological Science finds that when you take notes by hand you achieve better long-term comprehension. Number two, it helps you to stay focused and keeps your mind from wandering.

5. Change it up. Move around and sit in different places to meet different people. It’s very easy to settle into a church-rut or a church-clique. And if you want to take it up a notch, look for new people to introduce yourself to each Sunday. Become the person who knows everybody.

The Church-at-large is both the Bride and the Body of Christ. It exists to connect us to God and each other and to impact the world around us for Jesus. When we put ourselves at the center of something that isn’t about us, we’ll always leave feeling irritated and let down. But when we allow God to move in and through us, turning our hearts and minds toward him, the church becomes far more than a building and a sermon—it becomes our family.

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