Hebrews 10:24,25 – And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, (25) not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
I’m writing this to communicate positives about what I think is an important and central experience for a Christian: attending church. I like church, and I intend to share reasons why. Looking back, there are a lot of people from my generation that no longer attend, and I find it sad. This isn’t to deal why the reasons and issues they might have had. Also, this post wasn’t precipitated by an individual. This is something I’ve been thinking about writing on for a while.
I want people to focus on the positives that exist rather than shortcomings. Churches are a collection of people, and people have problems, but coming together to worship our Creator is something that God enjoined us to do with our good in mind.
1: I enjoy Sabbath School
The part of church that I usually enjoy the most is the morning study session. People coming together to study as a group and share new and old lessons is a benefit. I think that most of a church’s teaching and learning happens in the school session, rather than in the sermon (go figure). I love taking the questions of the lesson, or whatever study material is being used, and then having discussion centered on Scripture. I also like teaching this portion and asking questions that provoke people to thinking about Scripture and applying the eternal word to their lives. When I see people only arriving for the main service it seems to me that they have missed the main part. It’s their loss.
2: I enjoy singing
As an adult, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to sing in life outside of church. I haven’t always been a good singer, but through singing in church, I’ve learned to sing parts and read music better. There are so many great melodies and lyrics to be sung. The Christian hymns that we have access to are an immense collection of poetry that is designed to teach, uplift, and inspire. Many hymns were written by giants that came before us, and we can learn much by thinking through what we are singing. Music carries a beauty, and I love finding and passing through those moments in song.
3: Spending time with other people
1 Corinthians 12:12-14 – For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. (13) For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. (14) For in fact the body is not one member but many.
For most of us, church is the one time each week when we get to spend quality time with our Christian family. Church is interesting in that it brings together all types, social classes, and races (well, hopefully) in a way that people don’t normally. The religion of Christ is supposed to be the great equalizer.
When I was growing up in my teens, and through undergrad, I went to a small, country-ish church with a regular attendance of 20-30 people. Despite the small size, I think it was, and still is a solid unit of a church. We spent a significant portion of the day together, which totaled to lots of time over years. We had potluck EVERY week, and that did amazing things for providing us opportunities to have relationships and to keep the social fire burning. Now when I see churches that don’t have a weekly meal after the service, it makes a part of me sad because the members are missing out on a significant opportunity to build relationships.
Some say that they don’t need to go to church in order to be Christian. While there is enough truth in that statement to make it sound right, it leads in the wrong direction. Paul elaborates in several New Testament locations that we are a body, and only represent Christ fully as a group. To act and live independently leads us to represent Christ imperfectly. It also leaves us open to spiritual attacks and negative life situations that would be surmountable with the support of Christian community. Meeting together weekly is not simply to pay reverence to an institutional meeting time and place, but to pay reverence to God, and to have real human social needs met.
I enjoy the opportunity to give. I like supporting something I believe in financially. I know that what I give makes a difference in the world, and supports the mission of my local church. The tithe I return, and the offerings I give support work extending to the state I live in, to my country, and to the world.
I enjoy church, and it’s a blessing for me. I haven’t enjoyed every church the same, but overall the parts have been there. There’s a lot to be gained by regular attendance. But more than focusing on what we’re getting, we also give. And more than simply giving financially, we give socially, and give worship to God. God has earned our admiration and adoration for how he has acted toward this wayward planet. Let us continue to meet Him in the house of worship, and so much the more as we see the Day approaching.