A LifeSpringer and I were talking after worship, and she said this. “Boy Bruce, that was a heavy sermon today,” referring to the text about David and Bathsheba. I’d have to agree with her; it was heavy. And the more I thought about the conversation, the more I wanted to explain what happens every week in the planning that is made for worship and sermons.
That’s what I intend to do in this brief article.
First, the planning for LifeSpring worship begins weeks or months ahead. Bruce and Rich maintain a chart online that contains dates, texts, sermon titles, media to be used in the sermons, and a brief description of the subject of the sermons. This tends to direct planning toward congregational needs, interesting themes, and balanced, whole-Bible preaching. A good way to think of this process is equivalent to the kind of planning that an institutional chef does for her/his clients. Rather than serving the same foods over and over again, the diet is balanced through variety, health needs, etc.
Second, worship is planned with LifeSpringers in mind. You sit, symbolically, with Rich and Bruce as they think about each week’s worship. Questions asked are: “What would be helpful to fill in the blank today?” “How can we increase the meaningfulness of worship for all LifeSpringers?” “What would encourage the greatest growth in maturity today?” And so forth…..
Third, worship is not “aimed” at any specific person. Although, I often hear people say something like, “It felt like you were preaching to me today.” God’s Word often has that effect. What any single person gets out of worship will depend, to the largest degree, on where they are that particular day: what they are struggling with, the argument they had with a spouse on the way to church, or what doubts may be disturbing them.
Fourth, worship is cumulative in its value. It’s not like a vaccination that gives its benefits in one shot, but rather like taking multi-vitamins daily. Worship intersects our lives at all the stages of life: in sorrow, in joy, in distraction, in weakness and strength. Skipped worship is like neglecting mealtime; an occasional skipped meal is tolerable but habitually skipping compromises health. Jeremiah chastised Israel because of the manner in which she had forgotten God (Jeremiah 2:32), which, no doubt, began slowly in incremental ways.
Finally, LifeSpring worship is a community event. In Luke’s description of the early church’s gatherings, Luke uses community words: all the believers met together, they shared everything they had, they worshiped together, and they shared meals. You can imagine what would have happened to any individual if s/he decided to go it alone. What they would have missed!
“Boy, that was a heavy sermon today.” I agree. By itself it is heavy but in the context of a whole year of preaching and worship, it is connected to fellowship, a broad diet, and plenty of talk about the grace of God. All of this lightens and gives context to what we do every Sunday.
Make it your habit.