At the end of May, we had a united youth worship service that I am still recovering from. The collaboration from area churches and the unity in the Body of Christ that night was amazing. The students were such loud, passionate worshipers that night.
We started the service in a unique way that night. I’ve used this at a camp years before, so I’m sure this idea was stolen from someone, so if you can use it, steal it from me. The idea all centers around the verses from Psalm 100:4:
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
I love that verse for what it doesn’t say. It doesn’t say enter into his gates, then start with the thanksgiving. He doesn’t say get settled in a comfy seat in his courts and start the praise. The process of entering is is worship. While we are entering into the presence of God, we should be worshiping already!
That verse spurned this idea.
About 5 minutes before the service started, we had everyone in the commons area with the doors closed. My good buddy and hero, Addison Ridgeway, stood up on a platform and began to lead worship “outside the gates.” He was able to get everyone’s attention from chitchat and they all began to sing. We had a wireless microphone attached to his guitar strap so we could keep up with what was going on outside there.
The students were singing louder and louder, “Let it rain, let it rain, open the floodgates of heaven, let it rain.” At a certain point, we gave the cue, and our door holders opened the doors to the auditorium while singing, “open the floodgates of heaven.” When the doors opened up, the band was playing in sync with Addison outside. He ushered them into worship and they never had a time to even sit down. The worship started before the service did. As the hundreds of students filed in the room, I witnessed hungry students desiring the presence of God to fill that room and in their lives.
The idea worked great for us, but beyond the idea, it is a reminding challenge to all of us. Are we entering into worship or are we trying to begin worship once a service starts? Next time you come to a service, I dare you to enter in with thanksgiving and with praise.