1. Rise With the Sun and Rise With the Son - Getting the most out of worship services starts well before you ever get there. If you wake up late, are in a rush, stressed, anxious, angry (at the kids or spouse for making you even more rushed) then it’s hard to get to service in the right frame of mind. Be ready to get up when the sun gets up (Proverbs 6:9 - quote that to your kids Sunday morning; Proverbs 31:15 - principle of wisdom to learn from), and that should give you plenty of time to get ready at a comfortable stress-free pace. Also, wake up and say a prayer or sing a hymn before you get out of bed. That will really tune your heart to focusing on Jesus for the day.
2. A Great Sunday Starts on Saturday - It’s hard to do what we just talked about if you are up half the night Saturday. Though Sunday is not a Sabbath, the principle of having a “preparation day” before a day of worship is practical and wise. (Mark 15:42) Dedicate 30 minutes the night before to getting ready for Sunday. Make sure everyone has the clothes they need already set aside (and washed and ironed if need be). Make sure the breakfast items are ready to go. Make sure the alarm is set to rise with the sun. The more prepared you get Saturday night the more prepared you will be on Sunday morning.
3. Get to Services Early - There are so many benefits. Show up 20 minutes before services and you’ll have your pick of parking spaces, your pick of seats, and you’ll be comfortable and relaxed and ready for worship whenever it begins. You have the opportunity to meet people as they come, or help out with any immediate needs for the morning. It also gives you the opportunity to welcome any visitors and provide them a helping hand.
4. Greet people - Whether you know them or not (especially if you do not know them). Greet people even if you are visiting a congregation. The church is the people. You’ll feel more connected to the church the more you know the people. The more you know the people the more comfortable you will be (and less anxious) and the easier it’ll be to focus on the worship. The Lord commands us to greet one another (Romans 16:16). So, the tip is really just to trust and obey the command of the Lord. You will be blessed if you do so.
5. Read the Bulletin - Since you made it a few minutes early, rather than look around at the ceiling or “people watch”, take a few minutes to read the bulletin. (And, may I add, thanks for doing so today) It will help to give you some spiritual thoughts and hopefully be a spiritually enriching experience. The bulletin is published for your benefit. Whether you are reading at the building or later; don’t just pick up a copy, but read it. :)
6. Read the Bulletin Insert - Check for any reminder of things that are going on that day, but especially be mindful of people that you can pray for. We only do our announcements at O’Connor Road at the end of services, and we only announce a few matters that may need immediate attention. Most of our announcements are provided in the bulletin insert. For men, it gives you a reminder for this week and next of your public duties of service, and for everyone it provides people and events we need to be mindful of and pray for. Much like the end of the last chapter of most of the epistles, these are the reminders/duties specifically for our work. Reading the bulletin insert will help you in your service.
7. Use a Paper Bible - While electronics can be convenient, they are nonetheless cold, hard, mechanical, impersonal. Those who routinely use a paper bible develop a relationship with the book. That is important. A paper bible never runs out of battery. There is not lag when you turn the pages. It’s easier to learn where things are in the bible because the more you use it the more you will associate texts and picture them on the page. And perhaps most importantly, it removes the distraction/temptation of alerts that you may likely receive using an electronic device. Keep the focus on the worship. Use a paper bible.
8. Take Notes - We leave a little space in the bulletin for you to take notes. It keeps you engaged in the lesson. It helps you to remember later on what you learned in the study together. If you save them, it provides a reference for later on should you need it. Taking notes helps you get the most out of the lessons… and take those lessons with you.
9. Sit in the Front Half of the Building - The singing sounds better when you are closer to the front, there are less distractions during the worship service from those who may need to get up/down periodically, you typically have more options of where to sit, and it leaves spaces in the back for people who really need them (like those with ailments that prevent them from walking far or those who have small children that need access to the nursery/restrooms more often). And it leaves space for those who may arrive late or for visitors.
10. Smile - People think that happiness creates a smile. While that can be true, it is also true that a smile can create happiness. Not even just for everyone else, but for yourself. It is a simple and very effective tip - Smile. ”This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) Smile. Let the joy of Jesus be seen in your smile!