As the author of Scriptures for Strippers, I get asked all the time about church. People ask me how often I go to church, what church I am a member of and when should they “join” a church.
On page 25 of Scriptures for Strippers, there is a chart to keep up with the different church experiences to determine if that particular house of worship is right for you. On this chart, you can document the pastor, how you were received and more. But it is very important to go into any house of God following some very simple guidelines in order to get the best out of each visit.
There are some people who have experienced “church hurt” where they may have experienced rejection, abandonment or alienation so entering into a church puts them in a defensive posture or they may even reject the notion all together. There are other people who have the wrong expectations of the experience and find themselves chronically disappointed in their church visits for a myriad of reasons.
After studying the Word on my own, outside of a pastor, I finally allowed myself to explore church again. I had taken about a 2 year hiatus from regularly attending a house of worship. I always felt The Spirit when I went and refreshed and inspired when I left. I was accepted and loved, even after some of the members found out that I used to be a stripper. After relocating across town and giving birth to a new baby, getting to that church became a bit of a challenge so I began to explore houses of worship in my new community. There are a few things I have learned in order to benefit from each visit that I’d like to share in this blog post about how to go to church for maximum effectiveness.
- Go Into The House of God to worship Him along with Others. When going to church, keep your blessings in the front of your mind. Being thankful for what you have and mindful of the grace and mercy of God is a great posture to put your spirit upon entering the house of The Lord. When it comes to praise and worship, you may sing along if you know the words but if you don’t, you can still stand to your feet to show reverence to God. Some people put their hands up, clap or wave their hands as an act of worship. If you ever start to feel ashamed or self conscious, remember people are there for God, not you. (Daniel 4:2.)
- Be receptive to courtesy and love. While in church, people are instructed to “turn to their neighbor” and say things, shake their hands, hug or pray with them. When they ask if there are any visitors, everyone may want to hug or speak to the newbie. Allow the love to flow! Shake hands with people of you don’t feel comfortable giving hugs. Smile and greet people. If people at church start to inquire about you joining the church, simply smile and say, “I’ll see you next time.” If you feel pressured, don’t take it personally. It may be that person’s way of attempting to make you feel welcome, wanted and valued. (Hebrews 13:1)
- Dress appropriately. Whenever we are invited to a party, are going to an interview or on a even a date, lots of thought goes into what to wear. Clothes have different functions and purposes that’s why there are dress codes for some clubs. The logic behind some clubs’ dress code is because they understand that if someone is wearing more formal clothes, they will be less likely to fight or be disruptive. When going to an interview, we want to be perceived in a certain light so we may wear something to represent ourselves to be professional, intelligent and capable of doing a job well. When dressing up for a date, the strategies for wardrobe choice varies. If a woman is trying to “hook” a man, she may dress like a hooker, wearing revealing clothes that take the attention away from her personality and focus on her physicality. If she is trying to impress him, she may carry an expensive purse or wear expensive shoes. But a smart woman will present herself to be received with some mystery and respect. She will wear clothes appropriate for the date activity and will provoke her date to see her as a person not a sexual object. Getting dressed for church isn’t rocket science but you should think about it enough to present yourself in a way that is at least respectful to yourself. Pull pants up on waistlines with belts if needed, have skirts that at least reach your knees while standing and refrain from showing the cleavage or midriffs areas as well. Dressing this way can enhance your visit because you can enjoy yourself without tugging on short skirts, or constantly fixing revealing blouses and you can praise God with confidence there will be no wardrobe malfunctions.
- Take notes. When the speaker gives scriptures, write it down. You can listen and write down other poignant or profound points too. Later when you go home to reflect on The Word, you won’t have to rely on your memory. Even if the church provides a program with the scriptures on it, you will remember it better when you write it down. Taking notes also helps you focus on receiving the message better. Listen out for things that speak to a situation you are dealing with and make notes to revisit it later to read it for yourself. When reading it later, God may reveal a deeper meaning that ministers to you. (Proverbs 8:33)
- Do not focus on the people. Your Expectancy should be from God. Enter into the house of the Lord expecting to be encouraged in your spirit. Church is supposed to be a place where people are loving and polite. They are supposed to smile and even offer hugs. The operative word is supposed to. Just in case they are not friendly or do not warmly welcome you, does not mean The Holy Spirit will not reveal anything to you in this place. It may be the devil attempting to distract and defeat you so you won’t be paying attention when God’s word is spoken. Church people have issues, bad days and can be distracted. Don’t take everything personally. Focus on praising God for what he has done in your life and being thankful to God for the blessings you do have. Be thankful that you didn’t suffer all the consequences you should have as you disobey him and His Word. (Psalm 62:5)