Oh I know, you are reading the title of this post and thinking "how self-centered", but you wait and see. I'm right about this one (kind of).
How many times have you heard someone say (or maybe said yourself) "the corporate worship in such-and-such church is so unfilling / dead / unheartfelt / dry."?...and because of that 'corporate experience' your personal experience suffers. Or, to the opposite, have you ever felt the joy and sincerity in a body of believers and had your personal experience improve because of it?
Well, it isn't about the building, the number of people in the building, the kind of songs they did, the amount of sunshine on that given Sunday, or any number of other variables like that. It is all about me (and you and the guy beside you and the other how many individuals in the room).
We all need to understand that the 'quality' of corporate worship (I use that word 'quality with much reservation, because it sounds more shallow than I intend it) depends on the genuineness and sincerity of the individuals. The corporate experience is the sum of the personal worship experiences (now that is some pretty basic math right?)
So if worship really is about a heart connection between me and the Lord that can happen any where, any time, then the Sunday morning Corporate experience for me should just be an extension of what I've been doing all week. If it is 'good' or 'fulfilling' than I would expect it is because my heart is connected to the Lord regardless of what is going on around me. If it is 'bad' or 'disappointing' then chances are I've been far from the Lord all week and am now too easily distracted by what is going on around me.
Can the corporate influence or enhance the personal? Certainly. The body is there for the edification of all its parts. However, my walk with the Lord starts with just Him and me. My walk will end someday with just Him and me. I would expect that on Sunday mornings my worship needs to be primarily about Him and me (with all those around me doing the same which adds up to a REAALY Great thing.)
If you want to talk more about worship visit www.wonderfulpages.com to follow the conversation they are sponsoring about worship. (their posts may make a bit more sense!)