I have often thought, “if only people were nicer to one another, the world would be a better place”. And although I still believe that in theory, I wondered, can you be too nice?
I work in a small office, which is located in a much larger office area. There are three of us in my area. We nicknamed it “Area 51” because no one really knows what we do all day in here.
We talk about all kinds of stuff and on this particular day, we were talking about music and singing. It was at that point, one of the ladies I work with told me she was singing at her church on Sunday. Now I am all about music. Listening, writing, performing, helping out and supporting others. So, I told here I would stop by to hear her sing.
I got there a bit early and took a seat in the back of the sanctuary knowing that I was going to slip out right after she was finished singing. I wanted to just blend in and not draw any attention to myself. At least that was the plan. As people came in they seemed drawn or duty bound to come back to me and welcome me to their church. The first lady was very nice and welcomed me with a handshake. She was quickly followed by three other gentlemen, two other ladies, an Elder and the guest Pastor for the day, all who asked my name, was this my first time at their church, where did I usually go to church and how glad they were to see a NEW face in the crowd. By now I was a bit on the defensive side. When I told them I went to actionchurch, they were unaware of the name. When I went on to explain, “It’s the church that started in Fat Daddy’s Bar” they looked surprised and didn’t know quite what to say. I followed up by saying “mysterious ways Hun”!
Just about then the music started and everyone went to his or her seats. As soon as the first chord rang out on the guitar and piano, everyone stood up; hands rose in the air and began to sing along with the words on the screen. Side note: That would be cool at actionchurch, a room full of people singing “Momma Told Me Not To Come” in unison. Anyway that went on for 5 songs in a row. These folks were really getting into it. Then I could hear a man talking in a different language, “could he be speaking in tongues?” I thought to myself? One young woman was so inspired she began to do an expressive dance in the side isle of the sanctuary. All of these things were very powerful and very sincere! For me it was all just a bit overwhelming. I was thinking, “am I that out of the spirit or what?”
After the last song, and while everyone was still standing, I slipped out and headed toward my car. It struck me that worship can be very different from church to church and you can have a very different worship experience in each church you attend. The point to all this is not to bash any church or to put their worship style under a microscope. It’s simply this; we never know how someone is feeling when he or she walks into actionchurch. Are they excited, scared or nervous? Do they know anything about the bible? Does a rock band opening the service and a guy in jeans and a T-shirt delivering the message put them off? We Don’t Know! (Only when he’s wearing an Argyle sweater!)
So before we kill them with kindness or completely ignore them for fear of coming on too strong, try to remember your first time in a new church and how you felt. Maybe a smile is enough to say It’s OK no matter who you are or were you came from!
So you see there really is no “right way” to worship! You want to learn more about who you are? Visit other churches, worship with them and take a walk outside your comfort zone. You may find something you were missing or you may click you heals together three times and say, “there’s no place like home”.