Recently the Barna Group conducted a survey about what people experience by attending worship. The survey said that people who attend worship often do not gain spiritual insights while they are there! There is no “aha” moment. There is no new dawning of how God is working in their lives. There is no new awareness of God, of their relationship to God, or of their need for God.
As a pastor, this makes me sad. It is my hope that during each worship experience, those participating in the experience will not only feel connected to the others worshipping with them and to God, but that there will be new insights gained. We are called to continually grow in our faith. Growing in our faith requires new insights. If we are going to move forward, we need to learn.
While the survey did not delve into the reasons why people do not gain spiritual insights, I think that there is at least one probable explanation. Rarely do we hear that we are to be active participants in the worship experience. Those leading worship do not tell us that they want us to open ourselves to a learning or a teaching. We are unaware that we must be active recipients of the insights being offered.
Let us be more open to the insights being offered to us. Let us be more active in our listening. Let us listen to the words of the sermon as well as the other parts of worship. Let us really hear the words being sung, the liturgy, and the responsive readings. God is speaking to us. God is yearning to teach us. Let us pray for the ability to hear the message.