In preparation for attending a church service at some time on this weekend, let’s do some thinking together. On arrival, we greet friends, some greet family if they do attend the same church, and at some point we find our way to the seating area, which may be chairs in a gym or fellowship hall each meeting time, or perhaps pews in a sanctuary. Some gather in rented schools, and some meet in community centres, and some gather in theatres, or in home churches. The location or setting does not matter, the importance of this time is we are meeting with God, our Living God, to worship Him, and hear from Him.
In many of the gatherings, there is a time of worship in singing, as we give adoration and praise to our Heavenly Father, and His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave His life for the Salvation of all who call upon Him, repent of our sins, and surrender our lives to Him.
We enter another part of the service when the Pastor, or Leader, gets up to speak. I wonder what the various thoughts are of persons at this time of the service, what the perceived purpose is, as we listen.
The Word of God, the Bible, should be read at this time. What are thoughts as to what the Pastor, Leader, does then? Is He / she teaching, giving direction for life, preaching, encouraging, or is there something else being done? What are we, as the congregation doing, and prepared for at this time in the service?
Let’s glance into a section of God’s Word now, and see what God says about the Pastor’s talk.
Ephesians 4:11-12 ESV
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.”
Ephesians 4:11-12 NLT
As we read in these verses, it is the Pastor’s responsibility to prepare the Christians in the church to go out into the world and minister to others who we have connections with. These could be other family members, co-workers, fellow students, people we meet randomly, who God the Holy Spirit leads our way.
So, if it is the Pastor’s responsibility to prepare us to go out and do the work of God, and build up the Body of Christ, I’d say we have a responsibility as well, a responsibility to be attentive, listen, learn, retain what is taught. Then, we are not only to learn, we are to use what we learn, and put it into practice.
Along with what we learn from our Pastor’s teaching, we also have a responsibility to read and study God’s Word on our own. Pastors do not have enough time given them in the service to teach everything possible, but they feed us the appetizer, then in our time we can dig into the Word of God for the entree.
There is a Scriptural precedent for this also. Below is a passage from the Biblical book, Acts of the Apostles, stating that after the people of Berea heard the message of God from Paul and Silas, they searched the Scriptures on their own.
This is a great example to follow.
“That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.”
Acts of the Apostles 17:10-12 NLT
So, as we attend services this weekend, and in the future, let’s set our mind to be prepared to learn from the Word of God through our Pastor. Next, let’s commit to follow up by spending time reading and studying God’s Word in our own, so we are prepared and ready for the opportunities God is going to give us to do His work. God does have specific tasks for each of us.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Ephesians 2:10 NLT
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:10 ESV
God’s Blessings as we learn and serve Him.