Despite what people sometimes think, the spiritual
environment of the church does not rest solely on the shoulders of the
minister. We may remember the extraordinary miracles performed by Jesus
throughout his earthly ministry. However, when he returned to Nazareth, his
hometown, he was unable to do many great miracles there. Imagine, Jesus
Christ himself, the son of God, could not bring revival to Nazareth — He
could not produce many great results there. But it was not due to a lack of
anointing upon his ministry, but because of their unbelief. "And He did not
do many mighty works there because of their unbelief" (Matt. 13:58).
If we want to improve the spiritual climate of our
church, the congregation must work together with their spiritual leaders as
a team, becoming a people of prayer, faith and spiritual commitment. We must
learn to add our faith to the preachers', to lift up Christ together to
promote an environment that will invite the moving of the Holy Spirit.
In the services, the preacher and worship leaders seek
to encourage an "atmosphere" of worship to the Lord, along with faith,
expectancy, unity, and enthusiasm. Those in the congregation need to
cooperate in this endeavor, to help lift the atmosphere of the service into
a spiritual climate. By participating in worship, we help to create a
corporate environment of God's presence that will accommodate faith and the
richness of the Holy Spirit. This attitude tends to subdue unbelief, a lack
of expectancy, and other negatives represented there that will hinder the
effectiveness of the ministry.
The word "atmosphere" is an important word as it
relates to the disposition and climate of a church service. The atmosphere
is the impression or the "awareness" that is perceived by the people in the
congregational setting. Any gathering of people has a collective personality
or "spirit," in the same way individuals do. When we assemble with a group,
we sense the overall spirit and attitude of that group. Since human beings
are reflectional creatures, we tend to reflect the attitude of that group's
personality. When people laugh, we tend to laugh. If people are friendly, we
are inclined to be friendly.
In effect, when people come into a group atmosphere
charged with praise and worship, they will likely react by joining in. An
atmosphere of excitement and expectancy breeds excitement and expectancy. If
the atmosphere tends to be disinterested, unresponsive, and unbelieving,
people tend to reflect this attitude.
Christians should learn to help be catalysts of
worship. By faith, we should try to help encourage praise to God within the
body, by leading out with our own attitude of worship. Our enthusiastic
participation helps to influence the atmosphere of the whole gathering. As
more people participate in such attitudes, the service takes on an enhanced
personality. Perhaps this is one reason why David saw the importance of
expressing his worship boldly before his brethren. "I will declare Your name
to My brethren; In the midst of the congregation I will praise You" (Psa.
22:22). The psalmist also said, "I will give You thanks in the great
congregation; I will praise You among many people" (Psa. 35:18).
Since "we" are the temple of the Holy Spirit, it makes
sense for believers to let the Holy Spirit's presence flow out of their
temple and into the environment of the service (1 Cor. 6:9). The Word says
the Lord "inhabits" the praises of His people (Psa. 22:3). That means He
brings His presence to wherever He is praised and lifted up — that His
presence resides in the praises of His children. When we lift praise and
worship to Christ out of our spirit, His presence is made real and flows in
the atmosphere of the service. This is what Jesus was referring to when He
said, "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there
in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20). We should always gather with the goal
to lift up Christ and allow the Spirit of God to fill the climate of the
service — the atmosphere of the meeting.
Every believer can help lift the spiritual climate of their church, if they will be people of participation, prayer and spiritual commitment. Intercede regularly and fervently for your church — pray for your pastor and leaders. And when you gather with the church to worship the Lord, contribute to the positive impact of the gathering. By faith — that is without relying on feelings — enter into the service enthusiastically. Participate eagerly with the songs of worship. Respond to the preaching with an audible "Amen" once in a while (guaranteed to be noticed by the pastor). Make the joyful noise of praise and help overcome any climate of lethargy, spiritual coldness, or unbelief. This will help elevate the service into an awareness of the Lord's presence and will help to improve the spiritual climate of your church. "Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises" (Psa. 98:4).