Have you ever wondered why the thing that churches do on Sunday mornings is called a worship service? Are we really worshiping? And who are we serving? Unfortunately, too many churches have become spectator events rather than participating events. The crowd watches and listens to a choir or a band sing to the Lord. When the congregation is invited to participate, many reluctantly stand and turn their hymn books to the appropriate page or look at the lyrics on a video screen with a blank stare.

You know it’s true. Worship is not a spectator sport.

Going to watch a football game is not the same as playing in a football game. Going to a movie is not the same as being in the movie. Watching a parade is not the same as participating in the parade.

Just because you attend a worship service doesn’t mean you worship. It’s easy to stand and watch singers on stage worship. It’s easy to clap and sing and enjoy the music. You can do that at a Bon Jovi concert. But it is quite another thing to worship.

A worship service is a designated time when a body of believers can gather to serve God through worshiping Him corporately. You serve God when you worship Him. You worship God when you serve Him. You worship God through giving. Observing worship is not fruitful. Worshiping realigns, refocuses, and refreshes our outlook on God and life. Worship brings us back to center.

Worship lifts up Jesus Christ who said,

“When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32).

When you worship, you lift up Christ. When you lift up Christ, those around you see Him and are changed by Him. When you sit and stare, there is no life. When you participate, even with a “joyful noise,” you bring life to others.

Learn how to make worship personal. Don’t allow it to be a spectator sport. Take advantage of opportunities in times of corporate worship to genuinely participate with other believers in lifting up praise and thanks to God. You can worship alone too. Make opportunities for personal worship during your quiet times with God and when listening to music around the house or in the car. Don’t be an observer of worship. Be a true worshiper.

(This article is an excerpt from Laughing With Sarah by Gene Jennings.)