Thursday, May 2, 2013

Why Attend Church?

When I was a boy, we went to church every Sunday morning unless someone was sick.  If I was sick, either Mom or Dad stayed home with me, and the other one went to church.  If Mom was sick, Dad and I went to church.  If Dad was sick, Mom and I went.
During the school year we attended church every Sunday morning, every Sunday evening (youth choir started about 4:30), and every Wednesday evening.  There were no exceptions.  I never once remember my parents getting up on Sunday and saying, We stayed up late last night.  We don't feel very good today.  We will just stay home.  (I did not hear of that until I became a pastor!)  
Sporting events and other diversions did not keep us from going.  (I remember when my swim team had a lock-in on a Saturday night.  My parents would not allow me to go because it was more important to worship God on the Lord's Day than to be at a lock-in!)
We looked forward to going to church weekly.  It was one of the main highlights of the week.  We loved our church family, we enjoyed being with them, and we enjoyed worshiping together.
When I look back on that practice of my parents, I do so with no regret.  We honored the Lord on His day by ordering our lives to worship Him and be with His people.  I learned early how to sit, be quiet, and listen to a sermon, how to sing songs to God, how to listen to adults pray and give testimony.  I watched people respond to the Lord and His Word at invitation times.   I learned the Bible in Sunday School classes.  I learned about the work of missionaries on Wednesday nights in RA classes. 
No, I don't look back on that and think, they drug me to church!  I am glad we were involved with the church and the people of God.  I learned the discipline of regular church attendance: And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Heb. 10:24-25).  And not just attending but getting involved.  Being an active participant. 

I don't think we have to go to church three times a week in order to be a Christian that pleases God.  However, in our day, statistics say that 40% of American evangelicals do not attend church regularly.  Many people who claim Christianity only attend on large holidays - Christmas and Easter.  And many believers are simply out of the discipline of meeting regularly and being involved with a local church.  Compare that to the habit of the early believers: Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad an sincere hearts (Acts 2:46).
The following is a great reminder of why we need to attend church regularly with other believers

I am sure that every serious Christian at times wonders, "Why do I really  need to go to church weekly?  Why can't I just stay home, worship with my family, and watch good preaching on television?  Why keep going to church when I don't always seem to get a lot out of it?  Churches are imperfect anyway." 

David Roach has some very good words with Scriptural reminders.  In our day of low commitment, of people being overinvolved and overextended, of a consumer-oriented culture, of Sundays and Wednesdays being crowded out by 100 other things to do, we are wise to read them and put them into practice.

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