By Michael Cooper
Sunday morning rolls around, the alarm clock sounds, and a sudden urge to fall back to sleep hits. But through the fog of your grogginess, you remember the words, “Don’t forsake the assembly.” It’s the Lord’s Day!
For ministers, staff, volunteers, and members, Sunday morning is a time of joy. But it’s also a time of “work.” For many of us, the rhythms of Sunday can become mundane.
Yet it doesn’t have to be this way if we cultivate specific Lord’s Day habits. Merriam-Webster defines a habit as “a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior or an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.”
This article is written with church members in mind, so let me provide you with seven Sunday morning habits you should encourage in your congregation.
1. Arrive quickly.
The tendency is to mosey in at the last minute just before the first worship song but right after the announcements. Instead, we should arrive quickly, if possible.
Granted, various routines can hinder this habit (i.e., getting kids ready, morning coffee, car troubles, etc.). One way to circumvent the delay is to prepare beforehand.
It’s been said, “Sunday morning church is a Saturday night decision.” So, get the kid’s clothes ready, prep the Keurig, and check the tires on Saturday to arrive at church on Sunday.
2. Serve faithfully.
Any church leader will attest to the fact many things need to be done on Sunday morning. We all know the feeling of making last-minute bulletin changes or finding that lost HDMI cable for a TV.
This is why it’s important to serve faithfully. No matter the size of the church, there’s always something to be done.
From greeting to cleaning, from arranging to teaching, the local church needs your help. Find an area of service and plug into it. Ask your pastor or a ministry director to discover a ministry that needs help.
3. Pray boldly.
As the worship service draws near, let me encourage you to pray boldly. Ask the Lord to prepare your heart for worship. Pray for your pastor. Find someone to pray for before the service.
Here’s a pro-tip: nothing will bless a pastor or church leader more than seeing God’s people pray together.
Steve Gaines has said, “Prayer moves the hand of God.” What a wonderful way to begin your worship experience by praying for God’s hand to be on the service.
4. Sing passionately.
From the first note to the last chord, let’s sing passionately. I’m convinced nothing will stir your affections more for Christ and His gospel than through passionate singing.
We shouldn’t sing “Jesus paid it all” in a whisper. Let your voice encourage others around you.
Who cares if you don’t have the best singing voice! Raise a mighty cry to the Lord in song. Passionately sing to Christ.
5. Listen intently.
The time has arrived for the proclamation of the Word. It is time to dial in and listen intently. This is what I call, “expository listening.”
If the pastor has prepared a feast, it’s time for you to receive the Word with gladness. Pull out your pen, open your Bible, and soak in the Word.
Practically it helps to cut out distractions. Put your cell phone down, sit up straight, and gaze upon Christ. Pay attention for the glory of God.
6. Respond appropriately.
The sermon is coming to a close, and the pastor gives the invitation. This isn’t just for unbelievers in the audience. It’s also a time for the people of God to respond.
Don’t worry about beating the other churches to the nearest restaurant. The Word has been preached, and it demands a response.
Maybe this involves repentance. You may need to go to the altar and pray. However the Spirit is prompting you, respond appropriately to the Word.
7. Leave slowly.
The service has officially ended. The final public prayer has been said. Now, leave slowly.
Take your time to get to your car because there are people that may need encouragement. Mingle outside, talk, laugh, and pray.
This is a perfect time to cultivate unity. Say “Hi” to that visiting couple. Give Miss Joan that hug. Rearrange those chairs for Sunday night study. Leave slowly with a full heart.
Of course, there are other habits, but these seven provide an excellent start to making the most out of gathered worship.
Michael is the husband of Kailie, father of two daughters, pastor of Grace Community Church in Mabank, Texas, and author of Identity Crisis.