When visiting the church at Country Club Hills two weeks ago a church leader said to me: "I always think that the numbers of people remining in the church bulding after a worship service is one of the best signs of church life. A few years ago nobody stayed here. Within two or three minutes the place was empty. People couldn't wait to get away. Now it buzzes with relationships up to half-an-hour and beyond. That's got to be a very good sign!" Another, overhearing said, "I agree, and it really mattes how people come into worship too. Whether they receive a true welcome or not!"
These comments made me think as I work towards the end of my book on worship. Are there signs of effective worship? At one level, trying to quantify a spiritual event like worship seems blasphemous. Only God really knows about what is going on in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Yet, are there signs ("by their fruit you shall know them" Matt. 7:16) that speak of something substantial that has happened in gathered worship? And of continuing worship in the lives of the congregation through the week (Rom 12:1)?
One of my students said, "I'll tell you another good sign: The number of volunteers who commit to serving in the life of the fellowship and beyond." I look forward to hearing ideas from you.