Sometimes I get a stitch in my britches as they say here in the south. This week I feel compelled to share my heart about attending church and being involved in a local church community.
I'm certainly not legalistic about showing up to church every Sunday, but I am fully convinced of our obligation to gather, return praises to Him and engage with others in order to grow. So here's why you need to get off the couch and go to church this Sunday:
1) You were created for community. It is impossible to truly follow Christ without engaging in Christian community. Without other Christians, we are incomplete. How can we receive or exercise the gifting of the Spirit without engaging with a community of faith? God's design for Christ's continued presence on the earth, the Holy Spirit moving through His Church, requires involvement from ALL of us, you included. Your church needs you and you need them.
One time I was visiting a new, very remote community in Kenya and I was trying to get to know the mamas. I followed the sound of voices back behind a grove of trees to find their outdoor kitchen where they had prepared the lunch I'd just enjoyed. A few were washing dishes while most of them were sitting with their children, finally eating after serving everyone else. I was trying to break through the communication barrier, as most of them only spoke Kimaasai, so I pushed my sleeves up and moved in to start helping with the dishes. The laughter that ensued was shocking! I was trying to figure out what they were all chattering about in their mother tongue when finally a young teacher rounded the corner into the "kitchen". I asked her what was so funny and she explained that they didn't think I knew how to wash dishes because I have a machine back at home in the US. Now I was laughing right along with them. The teacher and I worked together to communicate the details of dishwashers and household chores when suddenly it dawned on me... I often find myself alone in my kitchen loading my machine full of dishes. These women were gathered together, enjoying each other socially and working for a common cause in their community. And they do this all the time. I may have the convenience of a dishwasher, but they have community. I heard a phrase in my mind in that moment that has stuck with me ever since:
Don't end up alone with your machines.
You can sit in your living room and enjoy a livestream of some megachurch in another city in your underwear so you can check the church box on your to do list, or you can get dressed and go engage in real community with real people that you can be in real relationship with. Don't end up alone with your machines...
2) We gather to worship. (I'm gonna get really blunt for a minute...) Worship isn't about you. Whether you enjoy participating in worship or not, it's a sacrificial offering. It's the part of our gathering that is just for HIM. So be on time and GIVE your worship to God with a grateful heart. Remind yourself of His goodness and faithfulness and pour out your praises to Him! This is an opportunity to connect with your Creator and communicate your heart for Him. When you change your perspective and worship from a grateful heart, you're sure to find joy in it! Let loose and be present. Something miraculous might be in store!
3) You need to grow. Let's face it: growing is uncomfortable. You can't get physically fit without exercise and you can't get Spiritually fit without gathering with other Believers. GET UP and get moving. Go to where other people are growing and let them rub off on you. God wants us to push each other, share Spiritual nourishment with one another, and pour out His love to His people through one another. This happens in the context of the local church.
And while you're at church, don't just endure and wait for the service to be over. Show some honor to the people who planned the service and gave of their time and talent to create an environment for you to encounter God. Tune in and take notes. Meditate on and archive what was taught so that when God brings the concept or content across your path again, you can look for it in your field notes and connect the dots of what He's teaching you. Making connections and identifying themes is a great way to hear God's voice in your daily life. If you aren't paying attention, you're going to miss Him speaking to you!
I am passionate about helping people hear God's voice more clearly. Fill out this quick form and I'll send you an in-depth article called Five Ways God Speaks.
See you at church?
Email me or comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts!