There’s No Back Pew on the Front Lines

Just another weekend worship service.

Nothing special. Not Easter or Christmas or revival.

We ask God to open our eyes, but what if He truly answered and we could suddenly see what happens when His people gather –the spiritual reality assembled weekly in the foxhole of our churches.

Loved ones, there is no back pew on the front lines.

Some churches are seeker-friendly, motivated by love for those who have yet to know Jesus. People do arrive seeking God, so it’s good to reduce barriers and make it welcoming.

Church should be a place we encourage questions, where the lost can come as they are, as we all have, to discover Christ’s truth, forgiveness, mercy, grace, and the love that leads to repentance. Amen?

But, when the people of God meet to worship, it’s a more than a place for seekers. So much more.

On any given day of worship, church is a gathering of warriors, of poets and priests, of God-explorers, of seed-sowers and harvesters, of kingdom pioneers staking outposts of glory, of the royal family seeking face-time with their father-king.

Did you think you were just going to church? Oh no, loved ones, that’s a pale title for our rich and powerful convocation.

Warriors for Christ have spent the week in battle – some from behind closed doors, others behind prison walls or sitting with shattered families. Holding vigil hospital bedside or in shelters, on the streets, in the schools, on the mission field, or in their own backyard.

Fighting for the lost and broken, doing the work of reconciliation and mediation, sweating out the struggle to stay married, stay faithful, stay clean and sober, stay patient with small children, stay believing, stay sane.

These warriors drag their battered souls into the worship assembly parched for the Living Water, famished for the meat of a solid Word from Christ, in need of fortification, strengthening, encouragement, and a repair of their armor, as they stagger in from the front lines.

Poets and priests arrive for worship yearning for the beauty of the kingdom to be lifted up. They come craving the stained glass, the banners and candles, the harmonious melodious strains, a taste of the bread, a sip of the wine, an escape into the reality of the mystery and holiness of the Most High God.

The poets and priests long for others to share in the wonder they’ve contemplated in the week apart from the rest. They long to say Amen together with the corporate Body of Jesus Christ, our Lord. These singing souls want to hear their part in the great chorus and know the music of the spheres.

God-explorers have spent the week reading His Word and putting it into practice. They’ve been exploring what it means to love their neighbor, show hospitality, be slow to anger, pray for those who persecute, and give sacrificially with varying levels of success.

They want to hear what other explorers have tried; they want guidance, correction, and encouragement. They want to share the joy of what went well and celebrate the experience of knowing there is still more to discover even when the seekers have found the Living God.

The seed-sowers and harvesters, like hard-working farmers, are hoping for a place of quiet contemplation, of Sabbath rest, of refreshment like water from a deep spring-fed well. They want to know if others have been watching the skies and seeing the same signs.

They want to hear what others are doing to tend and protect the tender seedlings peeking through the soil or what methods are most effective for pruning an unruly vine. They aren’t showy in their worship, but are faithful and watchful week after week after patient, enduring week.

The kingdom pioneers staking outposts for glory arrive for worship with their lungs full of oxygen from beyond the veil. They need the gathering, the energy of assembly, the glory songs, and the revelation of God’s Word proclaimed.

They need prayers for their efforts on behalf of the kingdom and confirmation of new territory they’ve noticed where God’s Kingdom needs to come. They need to inventory the crowd and number those still missing. They need the touch-base with the seed-sowers and harvesters, so their feet continue

to touch the ground as they reach their holy hands to the sky.

And the crowd needs them because without their vision, we perish.

And all of us, royal-family, children of the High King, who have spent the week knocking our crowns askew, our robes dusty from our common walk, and our manners affected by negative feedback and pressure from those raised outside the kingdom walls, need our memories revived.

We need to hear the story of our adoption through Christ into the family of the High King. We need the reminder of how a royal child conducts him or herself even when away from the family. We need to wash our hands and feet in the basin of the servant Christ and remember who we are.

We need a refresher of the hope of home, the truth of what awaits us when Jesus returns, and we gather at the royal table and step into the realization of our restored glory, of the day when our story is no longer by faith alone but by everlasting sight. We need a weekly family reunion and a reminder of our family name.

So, let us be seeker-friendly but let worship also be warrior welcoming, poet and priest inspiring, God-explorer affirming, seed-sower and harvester refreshing, kingdom pioneering outposts of glory grounding, and children of the king restorative and re-visioning.

This kind of worship is organic, living, and occurs when the Body of Christ exercises faith in the power of congress-ing in the presence of the Living God knowing who we are in Christ.

That service isn’t some common event known as church. No.

The act of worship is a fist raised against the brutal foul forces at work in this world. It’s a flare sent up from the outpost.

It’s a campfire set in the wilderness. It’s a well in the desert. It’s a family reunion. It’s a vision summit.

It’s the bread and the wine and the blood and the risen Christ, our Head, infusing His Spirit throughout the entire body making what has been dispersed over the days one.

We do not have to wait for our church leaders to create this kind of worship or for our fellow worshipers to “get it.” This worship doesn’t come in a workshop, a weekend, or a movement. This worship is the reality of what occurs, and we just need God to open our eyes to it this week.

So, cry out, loved ones. Open our eyes, Lord. Let us see this gathering as You see it.

Let us know the power of our own corporate gathering in Your presence.

We remember now. We are not church-goers. We are warriors, poets, priests, God-explorers, seed-sowers, harvesters, pioneers in outposts of glory, and children of the most High King. And this is as true on every regular, ordinary day of worship as it is on Easter and revival week.

You see it now, too, don’t you? Take heart, loved ones, it’s almost time to gather again. Brace your soul to worship.

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    The Conversation

  1. Truth. Hard, unadulterated, yet comforting Truth.

  2. I am new to your blog and I am uplifted by your positive words. You are saying words with power and grace. Thank you so much.

  3. Paul Taylor says:

    Well said. Even when I don’t feel fortified on Sunday it hits me on Monday or Tuesday.

  4. Gerie says:

    Yes. Yes. And yes, Amen! This is what I try to convey to believers who don’t come/go to church. It’s real.
    Thank you. God Bless You.

  5. Rob McCullough says:

    Amen Lori! Very good expression of our Fathers Heart and the True Blessing that He has for each of us – His Sons and Daughters.

  6. Barbara Bradley says:

    I have always thought of the gathering of believers a s a fortifying experience. It is so wonderful to read this affirmation and look forward to gathering with my fellow saints I believe God is pleased with our worship and I look forward to it
    I am new to your blog and I am enjoying the encouragement and challenges

  7. Jesus told him, “Whoever has already bathed needs only to wash his feet, and he will be completely clean.” (John 13:10)

    As I was your wonderful words, dear Sister, that verse came to mind. It’s as if His soldiers go to church to get their weekly foot-washing, spiritually speaking, so the “Gospel boots” can be put back on for another week fighting The Good Fight…

    “…and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:15)

    What a great picture The LORD painted in His Word!