Why do we come together on Sunday mornings at First Baptist Church? What is the purpose of gathering together? What should be our main motivation as we plan our time together?
I’ve been mulling these questions over in my head recently. Now I know the “Sunday School” answer to every question asked in church is usually “Jesus,” and in essence that really is the answer, but I’m still looking for something more specific. I would imagine most of us would answer, “to worship Jesus,” or “to worship God.” But I think even in that answer, we may have different perspectives of what that really means and looks like.
Here’s my point: most Baptist churches in America are evangelical in tradition. We hold a strong view on the need for personal conversion. Our forefathers who came to America and then moved west, preached in brush arbor meetings and tent revivals. Their intent was to share the Gospel and win souls. Consequently, as the church continued to move west, a major shift occurred in what the church did on Sunday mornings.
Since the early church in scripture, churches gathered to worship by reading God’s Word and taking Communion together. Throughout the centuries, many changes affected the church, but the Sunday gatherings still continued to be about worshipping God. But when the church moved west in America, Sunday mornings shifted to revivalist services where preachers addressed their audience about their need for God. The focus was no longer about worshiping God so much, as it was about telling others about God in hopes that they would experience the life-changing relationship with Him.
So, I ask the question again. Why do we come together on Sunday mornings at First Baptist Church? Is it to worship God, addressing Him with our prayers and songs, retelling His story as we do? Or is it to address the people in the pew, seeking to convince them of their need for Christ? Or is it both? Can we effectively do both simultaneously and still maintain integrity in our motivation to make Jesus our first priority? Something to think about.