A few weeks ago, like most every Sunday, I went to church this morning. But, unlike most every Sunday, I attended a church service that was outside. It was held outside because the structure where service is usually held was maybe half the size of the bedroom I grew up in. And on that particular day there was an overflow of people due to an out of country guest. Thankfully, we live in Nairobi where every day is sunny, clear, dry, and eighty degrees (or about twenty-two degrees for my Celsius using friends).
Also unlike most every Sunday there was no worship team, no service flow, no order of service, and the only musical instrument was a keyboard. When someone wanted to sing a song they came up front, grabbed the microphone, and led the congregation. When someone wanted to give a testimony they came forward, took the microphone, and shared how God had impacted their life. When someone wanted to lead us in dancing they came forward and showed us how to bust a move.
There was no pressure to put on a show. No pressure to please the crowd. No pressure to have a flawless service. We just worshiped. Freely.
After about two hours of this unorganized and unplanned worship the pastor finally preached. He didn’t have any notes. He just read a passage from the Bible and shared what was on his heart. What was different about this particular Sunday for me is that the pastor actually prayed longer than he preached. He prayed for healing for those that were sick. He prayed for opportunities for those without work. He prayed for providence for those who needed school fees to finish high school and college.
He prayed with faith and expectation that God was going to both hear and act. Before we left for the day the pastor had prayed specifically for each and every person there, including the 10 or so children. We just worshiped.
I’m not knocking other ways of doing church. I understand different contexts are, well… different. What I’m saying is that on that day it was a different church experience and I enjoyed it. Thoroughly.
How often do we, as individuals or as church groups, just worship these days? How often do we come before God undignified, without plans, to just be free? I know I don’t do it much, if ever. This experience reminded me of that great need to just worship and not worry about anything else.