Hope Alive Church of Chelsea, MI

I went to one year of seminary after college.  It was a time in my life when I thought I knew a lot more than I really did.  

I learned an important lesson that year, a lesson about worshipping within a church. worship service. This lesson has stuck with me ever since.  

One of my classes required me to go to 5 different churches of 5 different denominations and evaluate various aspects of their church service.  I won't mention the denomination, but a church I attended was one I considered overly formal & liturgical in their style of worship. I thought it would be "boring" and lacking in spiritual life - even "dead."   

As I arrived with my sense of superior spirituality, I experienced a strong conviction of my pride.  I knew that I was guilty of judging this church and of possessing a prideful heart.  

What did I do?  I confessed the sin of my pride to God, and repented of this attitude. I determined to not judge this church, but to worship God within the form and liturgy that they provided - whether I liked the "style" or not.  

What was the result?  The change in my attitude enabled me to have a very rich worshipful experience.  

That Sunday taught me, that far more important than the structure or style of the worship service, is the heart of the worshipper.  Since then, I've attended a wide variety of churches when on vacations.  I've always sought to go into the church with a heart and mind that is there to worship God, not evaluate the quality of the service.  

This has also freed me as a pastor, to avoid feeling I have to "perform."  In leading a service, my focus is also to worship and glorify God.