Church Attendance: Spiritual Reinforcement
“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.”
“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in My name, there am I with them.”
Is church attendance important? The answer is a resounding yes! Can you worship God by observing the beauties of nature, by walking in the woods, or by jogging? Sure, you can worship God and pray anywhere, but private devotion is not God's full plan for you.
Can you be a Christian without being a vital part of a local church? You can become a Christian without going to a church. But in the final analysis, once a person becomes a Christian, he cannot remain in isolation! Being a Christian and not being a living part of a church, is much like a person who claims to be a football player without a team. Everywhere he goes people say, "Oh, you are a football player. What team do you play with?" It won't take many times of answering "no team" before people will ask, "Then how can you claim to be a football player?"
Something is inherent in the very idea of being a Christian which demands being a part of a local church . . . It is absolutely absurd to claim to be a Christian and not be part of a local church body.
Many people, however, are committed to the church as an institution but not committed to Christ as Lord and Savior. You can be committed to the church and not be committed to Christ, but you cannot be committed to Christ without being committed to the church.
Meeting together with other brothers and sisters as a church family is required for maximum development of the spiritual life. Read the first chapters of the book of Acts and notice how often reference is made to the new Christians meeting together for prayer and worship.
Why is such fellowship important? Remember coals? When they are laid on the ground or in a fireplace by themselves they tend to go out soon. If they are added to other burning coals, the heat is reinforced, and soon there is a blazing fire. So it is spiritually. Each of us cannot stand alone easily. The church is one of the great means God has given us to help us become all that He wants us to be. We neglect this at our spiritual peril.
Church attendance is not only for your benefit but so that you can be helpful to others. Take the initiative if it is a "cold" church and warm it up with a happy smile and greeting. Perhaps some people have been members for so long, and became Christians so long ago, that they need to be reminded by your attitude to love the Lord with all their hearts, minds, and souls.
People can become tired of even the best preaching unless they apply what is said to their lives with the help of the Holy Spirit. Even poor preaching can be used, or at least the worship service can be very valuable, if you look for the Lord's blessing in it.
In any church, whether large or small, you can be lost in a crowd, and you need to learn to say a friendly “hello” to others who may be as reserved as you are. They need the contact with you just as you need the contact with your brothers and sisters in worship of the one Lord. To sing together before the Lord is important.
Begin to become involved in the activities of the church. The minimum, of course, is attendance; but you will want to contribute time and talent and money along with the others.
We all need one another!
Wherever you go, one of the very first things you should do is find a new family, God's family—the church! Work to make it the best church it can possibly be with God's help and yours!