While there is certainly a sense in which Christians are not to be people pleasers (cf. Galatians 1:10), there is no doubt that the words and actions of God’s people should have an impact on others. After all, Jesus did say others “would see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Expressions of love and service do leave impressions! How are guests affected when they attend our worship assemblies?
- Do guests notice that people really pay attention to the sermon? Do they see some taking notes, and others following along with their Bibles? Or do they see a huge disconnect between the pulpit and the pew? Do most people seem “zoned out,” distant and daydreaming? (See Mark 4:24; Luke 8:18; Heb. 5:11-14).
- Do guests notice that we sing praise to God with thoughtfulness and enthusiasm, or are many sitting silently without there being any real reason for their non-participation? Do others get the impression that we mean what we sing as we sing to our God? (1 Cor. 14:15; Col. 3:16).
- Would guests get the impression that we have prepared to worship? Would they sense our anticipation and zeal in assembling to worship together? (Heb. 10:22-25; Rom. 12:11-12).
- Would guests get the impression that we exude a spirit of love, friendliness, and concern? (John 13:34-35). Would they think we really care about one another and are grateful for their presence? Would they believe that there is a serious attempt being made to praise God based on His inspired word? Or do people seem to be aloof and unfriendly – or just downright cold? (Prov. 17:17; 18:24; Phil. 2:19-23).
- Do guests notice as we worship that the world and its affairs have been set aside in order to express love, thanks and praise to God? (Matt. 13:21-22; 1 John 2:15-17). Do the concerns of the world reign supreme, causing many to be distracted, disinterested or rushed?
- Would guests notice the depth and preciousness of heartfelt prayers being brought to the throne of God? (Heb. 4:16). Would they get the impression of the privilege it is to communicate with the very God of heaven and earth and know He hears and cares? (1 John 5:14-15).
- Do guests hear the sounds of young moms and dads training their children how to behave in our assemblies? This is a reflection of life and vigor in a congregation! Are children being trained to love and praise God? Few sights in all the world are sweeter! Reverence is a must in worship, but there’s nothing spiritual or desirable about lifelessness!
It is true that expressions of worship are aimed especially to God, but it also is true that those expressions DO leave impressions on others. What kind of impression are they leaving?