1 Way to Get More Out of Church

Have you ever left a church service and thought to yourself, “Well that was a waste of time”?

I have.

Lest we get confused, this is not a limitation on God’s part. And it is rarely anyone else’s fault either. No, this is on us.

Photo Credit: Chad Kainz (Creative Commons)

So here is one way I have found to help avoid these instances when I feel something is lacking on Sunday:

Begin the night before.

Start preparing yourself mentally, spiritually, and physically before Sunday comes, because perhaps just as important as how we behave on the Sabbath is how we prepare for it.

I was reminded of this fact just a few weeks ago.

It was Sunday morning, and I was mad.

But not just mad. I was flustered, upset, sad, discouraged, worried. Everyone else was standing and singing, but I needed to sit down. I desperately tried to calm myself because I did not want to waste the precious time we had in church.

The morning had been rough.

We were late to church, and by the time we dropped the kids off in their classes we were even later to the service. One child refused to go to his classroom so I had to pry him off of me and stiff arm him while I closed the door to keep him in.

Me? I was mentally trapped. I wanted so badly to put the morning’s events behind me so that I could worship God and hear from Him.

But I just could not let go.

Had I been better prepared, I am certain that the disaster of a morning could have been avoided.

I should have begun the night before.

This is not an original thought on my part; I am proposing something that is already a part of Jewish tradition. Judaism recognizes the Sabbath as beginning at sundown the day prior. Perhaps the tradition originates with the creation narrative:

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning —the sixth day. Genesis 1:31

The scriptures list evening before morning, insinuating that it occurred first. But even if we accept this premise, how does that change our approach to the Sabbath?

Imagine you have to attend an important business meeting tomorrow morning.

What are you going to do tonight?

You are going to study up on the subject so that if you are called on to speak you will be prepared for an answer. You are going to get a good night’s rest so you will be alert and wake up on time.

And hopefully, through adequate preparation you can please the boss.

Imagine what would happen if we spent as much time trying to please our heavenly boss?

Spending time prepping for the Sabbath helps us to focus on things that really matter, on things eternal. It takes the shift away from the earthly realm and places it on heaven.

Beginning the night before will mean different things to different people. For me, it means making sure I get enough rest so that my mind is sharp for church. For you it might mean prayer, fasting or meditation.

If you feel like attending church is a waste of your time, I ask you this: what are you putting in to it?

Begin the Sabbath the night before, and I bet your results will differ.

What about you? How do you prepare for church? Do you notice a difference?


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  1. I think your mind and heart have to be receptive and that can be very challenging, given everything that's going on around us. And more so if one isn't surrounded/supported by a small tribe of believers.
    I don't think church attendance is a waste of time. You have to be in the right frame of mind to get the most out of it.

    1. God can definitely break through a hard heart (think Paul and the blinding light), but you're right--often times the impetus is on us to come prepared.