David Crowder Concert (Flickr/flattop341)

Pastors are the primary worship leaders in our churches. We must be fully engaged for the entire service, not just when we are preaching. There are so many distractions leading up to, and during, the worship services that it takes an intentional effort to engage in worship. Here are three good reasons to remain focused on Christ during the entire worship gathering.

Engage in worship because God deserves it.

Worship is something to be enjoyed by God. I'm sure you are familiar with Kierkegaard's model for worship which has God as the audience, the pastor as the prompter, and the congregation as the performers.

If someone leaves our church saying, "The music was awesome" or "The sermon was amazing," we messed up and they missed out. I want them to leave saying, "What an awesome God!"

Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations (Ps. 100:4b-5).

God will not force us to love and worship him, nor should he. We worship and bless God because we love him—and he deserves it.

Engage in worship because you lead it.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise (Ps. 100:4a).

People are watching us whether we are on stage or not. We must be careful not to tweak our sermons or chat up the crowd as they are trying to connect with Christ through singing or another expression of corporate worship. I'm not suggesting that you perform, but I am challenging you to engage vertically whenever those around you are trying to do so.

It might be hard to believe that our worship blesses God and others at the same time, but this verse says we are communicating with one another and the Lord simultaneously.

Speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the Lord. (Eph. 5:19)

The fact is, we are constantly surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who are following our lead, or lack thereof.

Some Sundays—for reasons that are unavoidable—it is difficult for me to get into the worship center before the service starts. Praying with people in the halls before worship is obviously not a waste of time. Most of the time, however, I do get there before the service starts because I know I cannot sneak in late without distracting others. Also, I do not want to inadvertently discourage immature believers who consider the singing as less important than the preaching.

Engage in worship because you need it.

I need the presence and power of God in my life every day, but especially on Sunday mornings. Worship is welcomed fuel for my soul before I expose it on stage.

Worship puts life and ministry back into perspective for us. The things that matter most should never be put at the mercy of the things that matter least. Pastors should intentionally and sincerely engage in worship for God's sake, for our people's sake and for our own sake.

This article originally appeared at lifeway.com.

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