by Mike McDonough, Pastor of Spiritual Development

Yes, this is an article on worship from "the discipleship guy.” You may be wondering why I'm writing this article rather than “the pastor” or “the worship guy.” Well, this article is not about a theology of worship, practice of worship, or anything really deep about worship.  

(I do have thoughts concerning the miracle of how a group of spirit-filled believers who were once dead in their sin can offer songs of praise, prayers, and hear from a transcendent God who is all-powerful, holy, and mighty, but that is not the subject of this blog post).

This post will focus on something simple, because even the simple can keep us from the experience God has in store for us as we come together as a faith family.

While we are most certainly spiritual beings, we also have physical bodies. I may be stating the obvious, but I believe we often neglect physical preparation for worship. If you have ever begun discipling a five-year-old to participate in a worship service, you will understand what I'm talking about!

Here are some of my observations as I have sought to disciple my son in worship the past several months:

1.) Get plenty of sleep the night before. 

You see them every Sunday morning. I call them head bobbers (and five-year-olds do notice them). Now don’t be mean, and don’t point fingers or laugh. Show some grace and think about your own preparation! Do you make it a priority to get enough sleep on Saturday night so when we come together to worship Almighty God you are alert and ready? Or are you dozing off, missing out on an experience with God and distracting everyone behind you?

2.) Go to the bathroom before the service. 

This is by far the easiest one take care of each and every week. Getting up in the middle of the service (especially the sermon or invitation) can be very distracting. Take care of business before service begins. You may even need to limit how much coffee, juice, or water your drink that morning. Yes, I do understand that there are emergencies, but let’s not make interrupting service part of our weekly bathroom routine! Being regular is healthy, but I don’t think that is what your doctor had in mind.

3.) Grab a cough drop or tissue. 

If you've had a cough all week (and you're not contagious), then be sure to bring a cough drop or mint to service. There is no need to cough throughout the service if a simple cough drop will take care of the problem! The same thing applies if you have had a runny nose all week: bring some tissue to service with you. I know I am distracted the rest of the service if I hear a sneeze and then see someone running out of the service with his hands over his nose. Gross! Let’s move on.

4.) Bring paper and pen. 

Having paper and pen can help keep you engaged through multiple distractions. If you are naturally fidgety, then writing and/or doodling can help keep you focused. Yes, even adults can draw pictures during service to stay focused! Having the discipline of writing the key truth or a key application for your life from the sermon can help you hear instruction from your Creator and keep you focused on listening rather than on a random distraction. If you don’t have pen and paper, then you just may find yourself staring at the stained glass windows every week!

God has made each of us to worship Him. Let’s prepare ourselves physically as well as spiritually to encounter Him each and every Sunday with our faith family.

What other tips do you have to help yourself or your family prepare physically for worship?