Don’t plan your worship services to attract people — plan your worship services to attract God.
I hope this quote from a while back was just a poor choice of words on the part of a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention. If not, I find this statement concerning.
Can you think of a story in the Bible in which people planned a “worship service” in order to attract their god? I can, only it wasn’t Peter or Paul or Samuel or Moses. It was the 450 prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:20-40 who ranted and raved and jumped around and cut themselves in an attempt to “attract” their god and get him to show up and answer them.
Christians worship an omnipresent God. That means God is everywhere. We don’t need to do anything to “attract” Him, conjure Him up, or even “welcome” Him into our worship services. He is already there.
What we need to do is plan worship services that honor God. Worship services in which we humble ourselves before Him, confess our sins, cry out to Him in prayer and praise, give our offerings to Him, and hear from Him as His word is preached. Worship services in which He is King and we bow the knee to Him. Worship services in which He must increase and we must decrease.
The idea of “attracting God” makes God small. Less than who He is. It makes His presence dependent on us and our actions. It puts us in the driver’s seat, in charge, over God.
And that is exactly the wrong place for us to be. Especially in a worship service.