By Paul Leavens
In some Christian circles it’s in vogue to disassociate yourself from the local church. People boast, “I’m a Christian but I’m not part of the institutional church.” Or, I’m a spiritual person but I’m not into organized religion.” Some leave the impression they’ve grown beyond the need for regular worship or a sermon in a local congregation.
Why should followers of Christ participate in weekly worship services?
It edifies you. You may complain that the music isn’t your favorite or the sermon leaves you bored, but the Word of God is read, Communion is served, Christ is exalted, and the offering plate is passed. You may leave the dinner table disappointed that the meal wasn’t very tasty but somehow your digestive system still assimilates the food and your body is nourished. The same is true when you regularly attend worship and are fed the Word of God.
It provides an opportunity to serve others. When you attend church you learn about the needs of Christian brothers and sisters and are motivated to minister to them and pray for them. It’s not all about you.
It testifies to the lost. When your neighbors see you drive out the driveway every Sunday morning, they know where you are going. When the golfer drives by the church building on Sunday morning and sees the cars in the parking lot, he is reminded where he should be. Church attendance slowly and quietly testifies to the world which side you’re on.
When you attend church regularly you have a natural venue to invite lost people to join you and learn about Christ. It’s amazing how much more edifying a church service becomes when someone who doesn’t know the Lord is sitting by your side.
It encourages others. A young college student was struggling with doubt. He was so troubled he decided to go church on Sunday morning to see if he could rediscover the faith that had previously served as the foundation for his life. That morning, in an old traditional church service, his faith was renewed and he left that day recommitted to Christ.
The student later testified that his inspiration did not come from the singing or the preaching. But during the pastoral prayer he opened his eyes and glanced around. Two rows behind him and across the aisle was a much respected science professor with his head bowed in intense prayer. The young man thought to himself, “If that teacher with all his brilliance can believe, so can I.”
Maybe the college professor left that day disappointed that he didn’t get much out of the service, or the sermon. But that fact that he took time to meet with other believers was a source of encouragement to a young student whether or not the professor realized it. Just attending church spurs others on toward love and good deeds.
One final reason we need to attend church regularly. God commands it.
Hebrews 10:24, 25 commands us. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Pastor Paul Leavens is minister of the Christian Church in Lindsay, 120 N. Frazier Ave. To contact him, call 559-562-3743 or visit www.lindsaychristianchurch.org.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.