This will sound strange to many of you. I went to church 52 weeks a year as I grew up. I went to Sunday School and Sunday morning worship. I was at church training and Sunday evening worship. I attended prayer meetings every Wednesday night. My family even went to church when we were on vacation.
My parents deeply valued the church. They believed it could help them learn God’s word, deepen their faith and guide their family. The local church was a high priority.
Prioritizing the church is less common now. Many Christians see church attendance as an option among many. They often value hobbies, leisure and events as much or more. Participating in the life of a local church on a regular basis seems unnecessary and overly restrictive to many followers of Christ.
But is there value in active, consistent participation in a local church today? Is church life intended to be more than an occasional dabble? Are there lasting reasons why Jesus founded the church?
Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us that the problem of devaluing the church is an old one. Apparently, some in that day were in the “habit” of “neglecting to gather together” and that this inactivity was wrong. We are told that they were to “watch out for one another and to provoke love and good works”. They gathered together because they were to be involved in “encouraging each other”. In other words, we are told Christians need each other and need to gather.
Here are a few simple reasons for you to value your church and to actively and consistently participate in worship services and other church gatherings.
- The church is founded by Jesus. It is his idea and he is really wise. He created this entity for a reason and we should trust that he does this for our benefit. Churches are made up of people and that means it is filled with people problems and people issues. But God created the church which means it has a divine purpose and divine potential. The concept of believers consistently gathering together is a God idea and God ideas are important ideas.
- The church provides us fellowship and help. We can benefit from the example of godly people in our churches. Fellow believers can sharpen and correct our thinking. Other believers have gifts and talents that are different from ours. In times of difficulty or trial, our brothers and sisters in Christ can encourage and strengthen us. God did not make us to face life alone. We need and benefit from other Christians in our lives.
- The church allows us the opportunity to help others. We can invest in the lives of others through the church. Through church we find ample opportunities to comfort the grieving, encourage the distressed and support the hurting. Church is not just about what we get. It is also about what we can give. We can use our talents and gifts and resources to help others through the ministries and missions of our church.
Your experience with church activity doesn’t have to be just like mine was. Sometimes you get sick and sometimes circumstances necessitate absences. I get that. Certainly the programs of a local church can be different from yesteryear’s. Programs and methodologies will always need to change to meet our changing world. We don’t need to recreate the past. But we do need to value eternal principles.
The church will always matter because it matters to God. And because it matters to God, it should matter to us. Jump into the life of your church. Participate, connect and embrace. It has great value.