Some days are easy to look forward with increasing anticipation as a big day draws near. For kids, vacations, birthdays and Christmas morning are often circled on the calendar with countdowns beginning way too early in most cases. The excitement is often too much to be contained and sleep is basically impossible the night before. To be honest, I still get really excited about certain days although it’s different now and for different reasons as an adult and parent.
At the same time, the “big” days can also seem to make the recurring days seem very ordinary. Consider Sunday for example. Because Sunday shows up once each week, it’s easy to view Sunday as part of the weekly routine which means it may not bring much anticipation or excitement… It’s easy for us to think, “Oh it’s Sunday, so I have to go to church, out to eat, etc”… But what if we could start anticipating Sundays with great anticipation on a regular basis? Instead of embracing Sundays as routine, maybe we could expect the great God we serve to do something great each time we gather as His church.
During our volunteer training this past Sunday afternoon, we challenged everyone to wrestle with this question… How do we go about viewing each Sunday as a day to look forward to with great anticipation of how God will speak and move in our midst?
Generally speaking, the answer to this question begins way before Sunday ever arrives. You see, we are called to experience a relationship with Jesus as we live, work, and play. This means we have the potential to be constantly more and more aware of His presence… to see everyday moments as God ordained moments where we teach and serve others out of the love we have found in Jesus. If Sunday is your only experience and connection with God, then Sunday will more times than not be a little disappointing for you. Experiencing God in the context of a church gathering on Sunday was never meant to happen disconnected from the rest of life. Therefore, the more you connect with God during the week, the more prepared you will be to connect with Him on Sundays because expectancy becomes a core part of who you are!
Now, once Sunday arrives, you will have a decision to make… Will I be ON or OFF? Even if you’ve felt disconnected from God during the week, when the church gathers on Sunday, you have a great opportunity to refocus and start your week headed in the right direction. So what’s the difference between being ON or OFF?
OFF… It’s Sunday, and you don’t have to volunteer or serve within your church, so you can show up late, not talk to anyone, attend the service, and move on with your day… By doing this, you essentially shutoff the Holy Spirit from being able to speak to you or even through you as an encourager toward someone else… I believe God is waiting for the opportunity to teach us more about Himself and His presence within us, but all too easily, we can miss these moments with Him because we’ve embraced Sunday as a routine, check it off the list, kind of day.
ON… You are actually excited about meeting with your church. You are on-time, maybe even early, ready to celebrate Jesus, and anticipating how God will speak into your life. You are open and ready to receive whatever God has for you. If it’s your Sunday to serve or volunteer, you arrive early to ensure you are ready to give of yourself so that others can experience God’s presence in a real and practical way. You find joy in serving and you’ve taken time in advance to prepare yourself. You believe God has given you an opportunity to serve others, and you can’t wait to invest your life into someone else through the unique way God has made and gifted you!
OFF and ON… Two vastly different approaches toward a Sunday church gathering… I believe each Sunday can be a powerful day when God speaks to His church. I’m convinced of this because it’s His heart. He wants us to know His voice and even speak words of hope into one another as we have opportunity.
To help us grow in this sense of “expectation” together, we’ve asked everyone who is scheduled to volunteer within The Grove Church on a given Sunday to meet in the worship area at 10:00 for a time of prayer and expectation over what God has in store for us. This means you may need to arrive a few minutes earlier to ensure your tasks are ready/finalized before 10:00. Then, after we pray and meet together at 10:00, we’ll be ready to focus on people (rather than last minute tasks) starting at 10:10 as people begin to arrive.
Why are we taking this approach? 3 reasons…
- We are able to worship God freely and fully with a humble, selfless, expectant heart!
- Each Sunday could be someone’s first Sunday, so let’s give God and others our best so we can create the best environment for people to clearly hear from Him!
- Any Sunday could be an important Sunday for somebody! We never know the hurt, pain, joys, or struggles someone brings with them, so let’s be ready to meet people where they are as God draws them to gather with us!