I am currently in Florence Italy visiting missionaries that Valley Baptist Church supports. It is Saturday. Church is tomorrow and I am not preaching. It is so nice just vegging. I am just a fly on the wall trying to give some space so Andrea can get ready to preach. There is a crisis brewing and I am cracking up--praying for them of course, but totally cracking up because I am seeing a crisis develop that I have been through.
What is the crisis? The whole worship team is on vacation. What will he do? At this point, the plan is for him to lead the worship and to preach. I think he is going to call his wife, Susan, in for backup even though she is losing her voice. I have been there, but I think he is a little more gifted musically than I am so he should be fine. But in the midst of this, I am reminded of an important lesson concerning worship.
Traveling away from my home church and especially overseas always challenges me concerning the heart of worship. For the sake of this blog, "worship" is limited to the the time of music during the Sunday worship service. I really love the worship time at Valley Baptist Church, but this hasn't always been true.
Worship time is a fascinating dynamic in church. Seriously, we start by singing...almost a concert sort. I am a teacher, but what teacher is required to provide a concert of sorts before they start a class? People totally judge churches based on their worship. I have been guilty of rating worship week to week by comments like "worship was really great today" or "Man, I didn't feel like the worship was very worshipful today." For more on a Biblical concept of worship, I recommend this recent post on Cross Connection titled "Toddler Worship." This is in my own culture. But, tomorrow I am going to church in Italian and next week in Spanish. I won't have a clue what is being sung or said during church, but I have every intention of worshiping God. How, if I don't speak the language? I am convinced that God grades our worship based on the condition of our hearts, not the skill of our instruments or voices...and I can worship God regardless of the language or style of music that I am exposed to in the next two weeks.
I don't think people who attend church have any idea of the massive amount of effort that pastors go through to help you worship and to grow in your relationship with God. I would ask you to pray for your church, your pastor, and for all those who serve at your church. Pray all the time, but realize Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are particularly stressful days for pastors....but not for me the next two weeks! But I find myself praying for VBC and all the churches I have relationship with!