Don't Skip Any Part of Church Service, Says Wife of Pastor

The praise team was worshipping God during a retreat held in Eternal Life Church, Gaizhou City, Yingkou, Liaoning, from February 20 to 22, 2023.
The praise team was worshipping God during a retreat held in Eternal Life Church, Gaizhou City, Yingkou, Liaoning, from February 20 to 22, 2023.
By Esther TianNovember 27th, 2023

Different churches have different arrangements for worship, but it usually begins with prayers and hymns, a reading of the testimonies and the Apostles' Creed, followed by a sermon, and ends with the Lord's Prayer and the benediction of the priest.

Some churches emphasize pre-service praise, which can last for more than an hour. But when some young believers go to the meeting, due to laziness or for the sake of saving time, they like to skip the previous parts of the congregation, which include reading the Bible, praying, and singing hymns. For them, the beginning of the service is when the default officiant declares the beginning of the service, so their requirement for themselves is to arrive before the sermon begins.

In addition, some elderly Christians who cannot walk easily or who are in a hurry to get to work always like to get up and leave during the Lord's Prayer session after the pastor's sermon or during the pastor's blessing prayer in order to avoid the crowd at the end of the meeting. That is to say, they have not yet heard the instruction to disperse, and they have already dispersed by themselves.

Whether it is late arrival or early leave, in fact, there is not enough reverence for the party. Little do we know that all the rituals and aspects of our worship count as our worship.

Nianci Yang, the wife of Pastor Hongjie Yu in the Silicon Valley Christian Assembly, said after a meeting, "Every part of the meeting is worship, whether it is the praise before the meeting or the announcement after the meeting. Sometimes, people sing hymns before the meeting, seemingly waiting for the arrival of the congregation, but in fact, this idea is wrong. Worship of God has already begun since the prayer and singing. Poetry worship is not a walk-on, and definitely not for waiting for a late congregation. And the pastors, the fellow workers, the group leaders, and the worshippers are all involved in this, because it is the worship of our Heavenly Father. When we begin to sing with our hearts, the Holy Spirit comes to us."

Yang found that although some people sat in the venue, they were absent-minded while looking at their mobile phones or saying a few words to the people next to them. Besides, their singing is also "inadvertent." She emphasized, "Do not underestimate the pre-meeting worship, because in hymn worship, a stream of the Holy Spirit is brought down. When the flow of the Holy Spirit passes through, even though you are present, you are not in the flow of worship, then the Holy Spirit cannot flow through your heart."

"Therefore, do not attend the meeting, feeling that it is okay to miss the poetry worship session. Let not your heart wander about because the bell of worship has not rung," she continued. 

Some co-workers or believers attend more than one church, so they often compare different churches. Some people look critically at the worship services of each church they attend. For example, they feel that the chosen hymn is too old, no instruments can lead people into the atmosphere, and the leader is not professional enough in music. In this regard, Yang's attitude is that everyone should have respect for the rituals of worship in different churches and not arbitrarily criticize the rituals of a church. She advises worshippers to come to worship with the right mindset, "No matter which book the leader uses, whether it's too traditional or popular; no matter what instrument is used; whether the person leading the poem is professional enough or not, as attendees, we just need to immerse ourselves in it."

In addition, Nianci Yang also made two suggestions to the worship team.

Yang said worship leaders need to learn to "hide" themselves and not make worshippers feel like they are attending a concert. The duty of the worship leader is to bring the congregation together to worship God so as to draw them into Christ. Therefore, she pointed out that the leader should also pay attention to their clothes and makeup and not let the followers keep staring at the stage because of their appearances, which will hinder the worship of God.

Moreover, most of the colleagues who lead worship have perfectionist tendencies. Yang believes that "the worship team should be fully committed, faithful, and prepared when practicing."

"When you really worship, you get up there and forget all about it. It doesn't matter if their fellow workers are wrong in their singing or in their gestures. Don't blame each other, because our purpose is to bring glory to God. Members of the worship team must not offend their brothers by pursuing perfectionism in worship."

- Translated by Nicolas Cao

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