By Chris Hefner
I have quite a few habits I observe every day. For example, after dinner each night, I find a sweet treat, usually Oreos and milk, to finish dinner.
In the mornings, I make a pot of coffee and drink at least a cup each day. Also, in the mornings, I make time to read the Bible and pray.
You have habits as well. Habits (good or bad) form who we are. Have you considered what your habits say about you?
Someone once said, “Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny! What we think we become.”
We’re the product of our regular habits. In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg suggests that habits have a cycle of routine, habit, and reward.
In other words, we do out of habit, because we experience a benefit or reward from it. Our habits say a lot about us. So, what do your worship habits say about you?
Last fall, I preached a sermon series entitled “Habits of Healthy Church Members.” The series highlighted habits that reflect our church mission.
At Wilkesboro Baptist, our mission is to lead our neighbors and the nations to follow Jesus by worshiping, learning, serving, and replicating. We noted three habits for each step in our church’s mission.
In today’s article, I’m recommending three worship habits for spiritually healthy pastors.
Habit #1—Humbly prepare for worship.
One of my fellow pastors refers to the “unrelenting tyranny of the Sunday” regarding the regularity of sermon preparation and delivery.
If you’re anything like me, you have study and preparation routines throughout the week to make sure you’re ready for each Sunday.
It’s all too easy, however, to get so caught up in the reading, writing, and sermon preparation that I neglect prayer and personal application.
If you want to be spiritually healthy as a pastor, remember your need to prepare humbly. Build prayer and confession time into your office schedule and sermon preparation.
If God doesn’t draw hearts, there won’t be any lasting fruit, regardless of your skill, preparation, giftedness, and delivery.
Habit #2—Intentionally engage in worship.
I know, you’re reading this and thinking, “How can I be more engaged? I’m preaching.” Well, what about the other aspects of worship?
Are you singing with the congregation? Are you listening to the other portions of the service? Are you engaged by focusing on God, or distracted trying to remember the points of your sermon?
Pastor, you’re the lead worshiper in your church. If you don’t sing, engage, and connect with the worship aspects in your services, how can you expect your congregation to participate?
Finish sermon preparation before entering your sanctuary or worship center. Be engaged as you worship. Worship isn’t merely an activity to attend; it’s an attitude to reflect.
You and your congregation will benefit greatly. More importantly, you’ll honor God with your worshipful engagement.
Habit #3—Give generously as worship.
I have no idea how many pastors give a tithe or more than a tithe. But I know and believe this: pastors are the leaders in their congregations.
If they’re not generous, how can they ask for generosity of others? Before you balk and say, “But you don’t know how much I make. It’s barely enough to make it each week,” stop and ask yourself:
“Has God ever failed to meet my need?” In my life, the answer is a resounding, “No.”
Trust God and give generously. He’ll provide. Trust God and give forgetfully. It only matters to God what you give. Don’t focus on it, and certainly don’t broadcast it.
Giving generously will remind you you’re part of the congregation you serve. It’ll create an attitude of investment and healthy ownership in your church community. It’ll also make you more like Christ.
Simple habits, right? Maybe simple, but profound in their influence.
In the next several months, I’ll post about the healthy habits of pastors in their learning, serving, and replicating. I know these aren’t exhaustive; they’re basic.
But basic habits lived out regularly develop us into growing and fruitful followers of Jesus. What are some other worship habits we should adopt? I’d love to hear from you.
CHRIS HEFNER (@chrishefner) is husband to a beautiful wife and fantastic mommy, Jean Hefner, daddy of two little boys, William and Nathan, and senior pastor at Wilkesboro Baptist Church in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. He’s also professor of Western Civilization and Apologetics at Fruitland Baptist Bible College and Ph.D. graduate from the Billy Graham School of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.