Sometimes, we look out at the congregation, especially at our 8:30 am service and see many people like this:
Sometimes, this can be frustrating, especially if you're the one on stage smiling and singing almost as if you're begging these people to at least stand up. After that particular set is over, it's easy to write that one off as "unsuccessful", but is that really the case? Even though people are still sleepy at 8:30 am (I am too, half the time), that doesn't necessarily mean they got nothing out of it. Just because they weren't all raising their hands, jumping up and down and singing out doesn't mean they didn't have a quite, intimate time with God. Most of the time, the people that are still half asleep, sipping their morning coffee during the service are the ones that come up to you afterwords telling you how much they enjoyed it. Usually when that happens, that tells us that they did have a meeting with God, even if it was only to acknowledge and focus on Him for a moment.
On the other hand, this is a similar image to what our 11:00 am service often looks like in the middle of a set:
Are they "worshiping better" because this group of people are more in touch with, or closer to God? Are they more in tune with Jesus than the 8:30 am group? Or is it because they have had a couple of hours to get woken up? I'm going with that one. After a worship set at the 11:00 am service, it's easy to say that it was a success every time, but is that true? Not necessarily. Hear me out, I love our 11:00 am service and they may be in a great worship mindset every time, but I'm saying just because they were raising their hands and singing out doesn't always mean they had their total focus on God. They could have been just enjoying the music or the liveliness but had God somewhere in the middle or even back of their minds. In this case, even though it looked good from the stage, if no one truly met with God, then it was a waste.
So, with all of those things said, try to keep in mind that during worship, what's going on on the outside of a person may not be an accurate representation of what's going on inside. If someone seemed half asleep, sipping coffee drifting in out of consciousness, but met with God and became closer to Him, then it was a success. If someone was jumping up and down, singing to the top of their lungs with both hands raised as high as possible and enjoying the music, but didn't reason with Lord, then the goal wasn't met.
To reinstate our goal, we are to attempt to set up an atmosphere in which people are free to worship Jesus and is supposed to be a special time. We don't always know what goes on inside the individual person, so when we see something like this...
....let's not always write it off as unsuccessful. :)