The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America



The habits of highly effective worshipers

As summer comes to a close and we think again of returning to routine, I offer you a two-part “Worship whys” devoted to the seven habits of worshipers. But first, let’s address why these habits are helpful.

Habits are marks of participation. Oh, to be sure, they can be rote, meaningless, “going through the motions” kinds of things. But they also can be helpful, especially when it comes to a group activity such as worship. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who won’t respond? Or tried to dance with someone who won’t move? What would happen if the outfielders just stood there and stared as the ball was hit deep into center field?

In all of these situations, a person’s participation is necessary for the event to be successful. The outfielder who won’t run and catch—who didn’t even try—has little right to complain. On the contrary, the more he or she participates and becomes better at the task the greater his or her satisfaction.

This is true of worship too. In one sense, we go through the motions—that’s human nature and it’s not a problem when it happens occasionally. But if we really participate, most of the time our mind, heart and body will be caught up in our great thanks-giving.

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