Recently I conducted a poll on my Instagram asking my followers if they attended church, and why or why not. Out of 79 votes, 56 said yes while 23 voted they did not attend. Overall, I was glad to see that the majority of people voted that they do attend a church! I asked the question because writing this post has been on my heart for some time. The hard part, however, is writing it so that people can see my heart through my words and not read it in a condescending or judgmental tone. Because this post is definitely not meant to judge others, but to raise questions in our own life, and even nudge you to find a church after this.
Growing up, church was just something we did. It wasn’t questionable on Sunday mornings, evenings, and Wednesday night that we would do anything else. I just knew that Sunday morning we would wake up and go to church. I have been grateful in that I have attended the same church throughout my entire life. I have been through so much transition in the church and even seen a hurtful side of it. Furthermore, I attended a Bible college and took many classes in Biblical Studies. As students, we had to attend chapel everyday and were still required to attend a church on Sunday. That was actually a fun time for me because I was able to ‘church hop’ and find a church that I chose on my own. Bottom line, I have attended a lot of church in various settings. I don’t say that and feel that I’m any better than you or that it makes me a better Christian. I say that only to point out that attending church became a discipline in my life and because of that, it is a natural part of my life, and my week.
So how can we take on the discipline of attending church faithfully if it isn’t something we are used to? What is the point of going to church at all? Does not going to church disqualify my salvation? I want to look at all of those questions and hopefully answer them for you.
The first thought I want to look at is how we can implement church into our lives if we don’t already. You may be saying, I would like to attend a church but I always find myself preoccupied on Sundays with something else, and it is hard for me set aside the time and commit to going. Friend, can I tell you that is something we all struggle with? Do you know how many Sunday’s I think it would just be easier to sleep in? Between having to drive 45 minutes in to town and getting a baby ready, attending church for me these days isn’t a piece of cake. But can I tell you that even when I don’t want to, that’s probably when I need it the most. I don’t attend church because it is a command, I attend because I enjoy it. Having found a church that I am part of, the congregation is my church family. I need to worship God in an open setting, and I need to hear His word. If you are trying to find a church to attend, pray about it. Truly ask God to guide you in finding a church that not only speaks the truth but that allows for the Spirit to move. Church shouldn’t be a check mark on our to-do list; it should be something we desire to do. No one said you had to jump in with both feet and volunteer to help the children’s pastor, but just show up. Even on the days you don’t want to. Even on the days you have a full schedule. (If you know that you’re going to have a busy weekend, set yourself up for success and plan ahead of time to commit to church on Sunday morning. If you already have it in your schedule, you’re more likely to stick to going!)
Here is what I always remind myself when I’m tempted to skip; Jesus literally gave us His ALL, the least I can do is give up one hour of my week for Him. One hour guys, you can do it.
So, what is the point of going to church? Why not just watch preachers on tv or sit at home on Sunday and read the Bible in our pajamas? (Both of which are great things to do!) Why do I need to actually get dressed and go to a church house? Isn’t God with me at all times? Well, yes He is. But consider the scripture in Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” We are encouraged right there in scripture, not to neglect the coming together. I don’t know about you, but after I leave church I feel uplifted and encouraged! Much more so than when I’m reading the Bible at home by myself. Here is a thought provoking question for you: Are you truly reading the Bible during the week, waking up on Sunday and studying Scripture if you don’t attend church? I would assume the answer boils down to no. No matter our intentions, it is downright hard to discipline ourselves in studying the Word at home. Even more so, I don’t know everything there is to know! I gain so very much by listening to a Pastor who was prayerfully placed over me.
If we who call ourselves Christians cannot attend church, then how can we ever expect non-Christians to show up?
For me, attending church is part of my testimony. If I am trying to be the light and an example to non-Christians, I want them to see that I am dedicated to my faith. How can I invite someone to church if I’m not attending myself?
To sum it up, church is not the end-all or a pre-requisite for salvation. However, I truly believe that God intended for us to find community within church and to learn more about Him under a Pastor. If you aren’t attending church because you have been hurt by the church or because someone else attends that you don’t like, then friend, check your heart. I don’t attend my church because I think we are the only ones making heaven. In fact, I don’t even attend because of who the pastor is or the worship team, or anyone else for that matter. We should attend church solely for the purpose of serving God, praising Him, and following His commands. No person is perfect, and if we are lifting up a Pastor or praise team on a pedestal then we are missing the point. We are all imperfect people seeking a perfect God.
Yes, I can and need to study the Word at home during the week. We cannot expect to grow in our faith if we are only reading our Bibles on Sunday. But if we are not even reading on Sundays, then I fear our spiritual growth is at a stand-still.
Did you know that if you can commit to do something for thirty days it becomes a habit? Thirty days is one month, only 4 Sundays. I challenge you in the new month to commit to going to church every Sunday. See how you feel at the end of the month. I would assume that on the fifth Sunday it will be much easier to get out of bed and head to church. I would also assume that you would begin to anticipate Sunday and hearing the Word! If attending church by yourself seems intimidating, reach out to a friend to go with you! Hopefully you will find a church full of loving members who will make you feel at home when you attend. Furthermore, I hope you can find a church where you are being fed Gospel Truth and are eager to return!