When we gather together with the church this Sunday, who is our meeting for? Is it primarily for us who believe – to build us up in our faith? Or is it for unbelievers, to proclaim the gospel and reach out to them?
Obviously, our meetings are first and foremost for God. For his pleasure and glory.
They are also for believers. For our delight and upbuilding in Christ. Colossians 3:16 says we’re to let the Word of Christ dwell richly among us as we sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to each other.
But what about the unbelievers who join us? Should we design our services entirely with the unsaved in mind as some seeker-oriented services do? Or just for the saints? Our services are for BOTH. ALL. BELIEVERS AND UNBELIEVERS.
Bryan Chapell says:
Being entirely “seeker-oriented” is not really an option for Christ-centered worship. But being “seeker-sensitive” is still an appropriate way to think about worship. Being “seeker-sensitive” is not the same as being “seeker-oriented.” We should remember that in the history of the church…there have always been three groups to consider in the planning of worship: the communicants (adult believers), catechumens (children and adult converts learning the faith), and seekers (those examining whether they will claim the truths of the gospel). The apostle Paul charges the church to be sensitive to the needs of seekers…They are not the focus of the church’s worship, but the church is not to plan its worship without their needs in view (1 Cor. 14:23-25). — Christ-Centered Worship
Our goal should be to seek to sing songs that resonate with believers and plainly reveal Christ to unbelievers. To preach the Word to both believers and unbelievers. To appeal to both. To avoid “Christianese” that makes no sense to those without a Christian vocabulary. To use music unbelievers can relate to, while highlighting the truth we’re singing.
I’m so glad unbelievers come to our church. I’m so glad the folks in our church welcome and reach out to them. I’m so glad people can come in wearing jeans or suits and feel comfortable. I’m glad we play songs full of truth in contemporary styles and hymns as well. I love it when I hear a message that mentions both Tom Brady and the Apostle Paul.
The gospel is for all – believers and unbelievers. We who believe need to be regularly reminded of all God’s done for us; unbelievers need to hear about God’s love for them and the salvation he offers. So this Sunday seek to build up and encourage your brothers and sisters, and extend Jesus’ love to as many new people as you can.
photo by bpbp Brian Petersen