Lately on Sunday mornings at South Bay, I sit in the back with Efraim. Doing this has given me a whole new perspective on our services each week. Just about every week I get teary eyed at some point during the two services.
Sometimes it’s watching the ushers run back to find more chairs, or seeing someone walk in for the first time knowing they have probably never been to church before. Other times it’s hearing God speak directly through Andy or catching a glimpse of our volunteers serve as if someone’s life would be altered for eternity that day.
In those moments I’m fully aware that God’s Spirit is with us.
This past Sunday was another Sunday that I became overwhelmed with emotion and fully aware of the Spirit of God being with us. As Archie was leading worship, he started explaining to the crowd how important it is to mean the words of the songs and make it come from our heart (I’m paraphrasing). He then led everyone in the song “The Stand” by Hillsong United.
During the song, Archie began to explain some ways to praise God- standing, singing, and raising our hands. He then explained that raising our hands isn’t something strange, but it can represent surrender or as a way of calling out to our Father (like a child reaching to their father to be picked up).
He then asked everyone (who felt comfortable) to lift up their hands as we sang the next part:
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the one who gave it all
My soul Lord to you surrendered
All I am is yours
Right then just about everyone in the room lifted their hands and sang out to God. It was beautiful. AND- the same thing happened in the 2nd service!
Seeing the same response twice, reminded me how important it is to explain what we do. Sometimes we, as church leaders, can think people aren’t responding because they don’t want to, but I think more often than not it’s simply because no one’s ever explained it to them. They aren’t going to (and shouldn’t) do something just because everyone else is doing it- that wouldn’t be genuine or from the heart, but mere actions.
Watching a room full of people engage in meaningful worship to a living God is a beautiful thing.
Here’s a video of Hillsong United singing “The Stand”