We’ve just heard the Word read and proclaimed, sung the praises of our great God, and petitioned him for mercy in our time of need. And then we spend our time afterward talking about last night’s movie, the game, the hobby, the state of the nation, or whatever.Anything but the great truths of the gospel we’ve just heard and by which we’re saved. Why do we do this?
Colin Marshall has a very helpful article here on why we often find it hard to talk about spiritual things immediately after our worship services have ended. There are also a number of thoughts to encourage us to speak more about our great God and his amazing salvation that we have hope,fully just heard about in the sermon. These include the following:
- Pray during the service that God would lead your conversations, and pray for specific people around you.
- Listen to what God is saying to you through the sermon (or songs, creeds, and so on) and formulate a comment or question to start a conversation. This past week at our church, the sermon was on what it means to praise the Lord, from Psalms 146-150. Since I was thinking about this article (and, I hope, for more godly reasons), I picked out two things to try as conversation-starters after church.
- With another couple we somehow got into a conversation about their blended family, and I reminded them of God’s favor towards the alien, orphans, and widows (Ps. 146). Since the husband is not yet a believer, I was deliberately talking about God’s character. I have no idea what effect it had on him.
- Even if the conversations don’t always get off the ground, your enthusiasm for learning the Bible and knowing God will be contagious. And non-Christians will see that church isn’t dull and boring but fascinating and life-shattering.
- These intentional conversations after church will sometimes lead to prayer for one another. Why not stop for a moment and give thanks or petition God for some need?
- Another way to deepen our fellowship is to ask each other how we came to salvation in Christ. Sometimes we’ve been in church with people for years without ever learning their story. The other day at church I asked a guy named Phil how he became a Christian, and we discovered God had worked in us in very similar ways as young men. The door is now open to building a friendship with this brother. What a joy!
Meeting together on a Sunday provides great opportunities to build one another up according to the various needs we might have (Ephesians 4:29). That’s something we can and should all be involved in.