Tuesday, July 17, 2012

We Didn't Come Here To Leave!

As I was reading Don Kistler's essay, Preaching With Authority, I had to laugh at a short story he recounts.  "I have a dear friend who often supplies the pulpit in an African American church in Pittsburgh.  His first time there was an eye-opener for him.  He was introduced to speak after an hour and forty minutes.  He asked his host how long he had to preach.  The response was, 'Till you're done, brother; we didn't come here to leave!'" 

Convicting, isn't it?  I grew up in a regular evangelical church where the service was typically 60-70 minutes long and I usually started getting antsy at about the 40 minute mark.  I could sit through 9 innings of a Cubs game by age six without a problem and if there were extra innings all the better!  But extra sermon at age sixteen?  No thanks.  

I'm not sure why we do this to ourselves.  We get all dressed up (well...some of us do anyways), we drive (or walk) to church, and then when we're there we can't help but steal that glance (or four) at the clock on the wall.  We hope for overtime, extra innings, a double episode, or another hour with our date.  But extra sermon?  No thanks.  

Here's something I wish I had been challenged to do long ago: treat the worship service like you're in the very presence of God (you are), treat the faithful preacher like he's Jesus preaching to you (he is), and believe that your time in corporate worship is the most important time in your week (it is).  Worship with God's redeemed people is an incredible blessing.  Worship is time for the living God to receive our praise, bless us through hearing our prayers, and to correct us, admonish us, teach us, and train us for the work he generously gives us to do!  Why would we come just to leave?!

And, oh yeah, if you can get rid of the clock on the wall...go for it.


  1. Great Word. Amazing how we think that worship is what it should be, because we grew up with it. Thanks for the challenge.

  2. In Niger where I'm a missionary, the service is literally one-half worship and praise and one-half preaching. Not a bad mix, really.

  3. I was the awkward one who would go to both sermons on Saturday's. The sermon is my favorite part, although i do wish i fellowship more. It's amazing to think what if the church valued well the church more and in doing so fellowshipped in worship more?