What can we do to help the unchurched find their way home to the Father?
The most precious gift God has given us is our personal relationship with him. God knows us personally, and we know him. By God’s grace we are calmed by his presence in the midst of our difficulties. When everything and everyone else fail, we rest confidently in his loving care. During less troubled times, we soar like eagles on the updrafts of joy. There is nothing more important than this intimate relationship given us through Jesus Christ.
According to George Barna, many Americans want a personal relationship with God. God created us to have this relationship with him, so it would seem that evangelism would be easy. Since people are hungry for a personal relationship with God, let’s open the church doors wide and let them pour in.
But this isn’t happening. People who have given exit surveys after visiting a church say they found the people to be friendly but they didn’t perceive God’s presence. They complain that the church doesn’t seem relevant to their need. We could point out that God is always present, so if they didn’t experience him, they must be spiritually deficient. While this would be true for some, we need to consider our part in this.
The importance of worship
Jesus said, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.” Jesus didn’t say God is seeking teachers, evangelists or preachers. While he gives some of us these spiritual gifts, Jesus said that God seeks worshipers.
Our loving response to his love for us is worship. Gratitude follows grace. Like the forgiven woman washing Jesus’ feet with tears of joy, or the apostle Paul remembering what he did when he was Saul of Tarsus, we also bow and worship, thanking him for his grace. God draws us to Jesus; Jesus saves us from sin; the Holy Spirit gives us life and gifts. Worshiping God is our individual and corporate response in this intimate relationship.
George Barna, Henri Nouwen, Sally Morgenthaler, Robert Webber, Jack Hayford and others believe that the missing dimension in today’s churches in the United States is worship. Too many churches are looking at the unchurched as consumers who are seeking products rather than children seeking their Father. Our local churches can serve the unchurched week in and week out by helping them find God by following our lead as we worship him.
Our personal daily worship is the power behind relational evangelism, and corporate worship is the power that makes our church services real or relevant. Everything that distracts people from experiencing Jesus’ presence must be removed from our lives and our worship services. Hungry souls need Jesus. We need to focus on how we can share the Bread of Life with hungry souls.
This is a challenging goal. Worship teams and pastoral teams need to plan and pray together to ensure that Jesus Christ is front and center in our congregations. We seek to create an environment that is grace-based, Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Word-directed, fellowship-building, and disciple-making. We can, by God’s grace, express our gratitude in worship from start to finish in our weekly services. The unchurched can then follow our lead in worship and come home to our Father in heaven.