First things first…

On the last Sunday of each year I get the opportunity to go church hopping. Yep, you read that correctly. I take a Sunday off from teaching at MCC and hit the road to attend as many services as I can fit into my morning. I do this for a couple of reasons: One, it’s good to hear a sermon every now and then, and two,  its good to gain a little perspective on what we’re doing here at MCC by experience church through the eyes of a guest. I try to do that at MCC sometimes, but I am not a guest here and can’t really appreciate what it’s like to be here for the first time.

This time around we made the trek up the Natcher Parkway to Owensboro, KY. to visit Bridgepointe Church and Owensboro Christian Church. Both churches were very welcoming, and I really enjoyed being a part of worship at each church. This year, however, something unexpected happened.

As a pastor, I have the inside track on our weekly services, which is a good thing. But sometimes, I find myself, in the middle of worship, stressing about the details.

See, I know when each part of the service is supposed to happen, who is supposed to be on stage, and what their cue to actually come up on stage is supposed to be. And when that transition doesn’t go smoothly, sometimes, it really stresses me out.

If we have a technical issue–a slide out-of-order, a cord malfunction, or even a slight squeal from the sound system–I, sometimes, let it be the entire focus of my attention.

There are some mornings that I find myself completely tuning out worship and thinking about the sermon, oblivious to what is happening around me.

So, a couple Sunday’s ago, as I had no responsibilities or clue about what was supposed to happen, I actually found myself more free to worship my God.

A couple Sunday’s ago, I was reminded that first things have to be first. I am a pastor. I have responsibilities. But first, I am a worshiper of God.

A couple Sunday’s ago I was reminded that, if I want MCC to be a church that worships God well, that I must lead by example.

I want our services to be excellent. I want us to give our best effort. But I am also learning that I can do my best, and still be distracted from what, from Who, really matters.

So, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to be more focused during worship, to give God my full attention, to be completely present to Him as I sing and pray and celebrate communion and open the scriptures with my brothers and sisters.

Because before I am a pastor/leader/teacher/preacher/whatever I am, I am His.

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