04 Oct 5 reasons why church is worth the effort.
In our post-lockdown reality, most people have discovered that Sunday’s are also good for lots of other things. Lie-in’s are probably top of that list as are things like walks in the park, coffee with friends, getting the housework done or even just enjoying a good book. Plus, when the whole weekend is now free, having a couple of days away is so much easier. So why bother with church anymore?
Have we all discovered a new life on the other side of weekly church attendance?
Why return? Why is attending church that important when I can have a regular devotional life at home and just catch up on the online service later in the week.
Why be part of a small group during the week when I can hang out with my mates down the pub?
Here’s 5 reasons why we all need to make the the effort to re-engage in church life.
1. It is not good to be alone.
After creating the world over six days, and declaring each step in creation as ‘good’, the first time we see God unhappy with what He has made is when he sees Adam, the first man, walking in the garden by himself. God looks at Adam and says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
Headlines this week are talking about the mental health crisis that is happening now as a result of all the social distancing that has been forced on people over the last 18 months. A more accurate term for the impact social distancing has had on people is social isolation.
From the very beginning of creation – God designed us to be in relationship with others. It is not good to be alone. (And that goes for all us introverts as well!)
Church is a place to be together, make new friends, even hug. When we gather on a Sunday or in our small groups (which we call Communities), we break down the impact of social isolation on our life.
2. Our gatherings are for the benefit of more than just ourselves.
Hebrews 10 talks about holding fast to the hope we have in Christ. What is that hope? That one day He will return and all sin and decay will be gone and His Kingdom will rule and reign for eternity. But until then we have to continue to live in a world that is fallen and broken, full of sin and temptation. It goes on to say, “… 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.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Our gatherings, large and small, are not just for our own benefit – but also for each other.
When we come together we can encourage each other, pray for one another, ‘spur one another on’ towards the call of God on our lives!
Let’s not fool ourselves, left on our own we slowly decline. We all need the encouragement and the prayers of each other. That’s why Eve was not just a companion to Adam, but a helper! We need to help each other.
3. We need a place to sow.
Genesis 8:22 says, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
There are some things that are built into the DNA of creation. There will always be cold and heat. There will always be seasons. The sun will always rotate around the earth creating hours of day and hours of night. These things will never change. But Genesis also talks about seedtime and harvest.
There will always be a time to sow and a time to reap. It’s part of the natural order.
When we sow of ourselves we become more our self! That’s why some of the richest people in the world today are trying to give away their money because they’ve realised there is more joy in giving than hoarding.
It’s always more enjoyable to cook a beautiful meal for your friends and see the delight on their faces when they taste your latest recipe than it is just to sit in a restaurant and eat the next thing off a menu. There’s more joy in shopping for an elderly neighbour than shopping for your own fridge. There’s more joy in welcoming someone through the doors of church on a Sunday, than just rushing in at the last minute.
Sowing our time (serving others), treasure (tithes and offerings) and talent (using our gifts) into the Kingdom of God is not just something we do as an act of obedience, it’s something we need to do because it helps us discover the true joy of being the person God created us to be.
4. Worship is a community activity that can change the world!
Acts 2 describes the early church meeting TOGETHER in the Temple Courts every day and breaking bread (having communion) in their homes, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And then it says: “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:46-47)
When we come together in worship – God moves.
When we come together to lift up the name of Jesus over our city – demons flee.
We are in a battle for the hearts and souls of men and women all over our region. But the answer is not to take up arms against the spiritual powers at work. It’s not to shout and scream at demons.
The most powerful thing we can do, to bring salvation to the people of the towns and cities in which we live, is to come together in worship and communion.
When we gather on a Sunday and worship God, we shake the foundations of hell in our city. When we gather together in homes (our Communities) and break bread together and praise God together – we break strongholds in the lives of our families and friends.
A church that gathers together, is a church that God will add to daily, those who are being saved.
5. Gatherings are for disciple making!
Being a disciple of Jesus is not just about living a Christian life, being good and obeying God. Being a disciple is about following Jesus, and Jesus is still on a mission to reach the hearts and souls of men and women across our world.
The last words of Jesus to his disciples were a commissioning. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Our Sunday and midweek gatherings are just as much part of fulfilling the mission of Jesus as any other part of our week. They are a place we can bring people to encounter God. A place for people to come seeking. A place for us to ’baptise’ and to ‘teach’. A place for us to be spurred on together towards seeing a great harvest in our world.
Our services and small groups are not events we attend. They are a coming together, with one accord, of a community of faith to worship in authority, receive instruction and direction for life, practise discipleship through giving and serving, and a place to encourage and spur one another on to do the great things God is calling each of our lives to.
Ready to re-engage?
Here’s four practical things you can do right now:
1. Book out your diary and make Sundays about being together as a church again. Join us at an in-person gathering in your city or arrange some friends to come around and do Church at Home with our Online Service which currently premiere’s every Sunday at 10am.
2. Start to give your time and talent – join a team and start serving at one of our in-person services. Be part of helping make our services a welcoming place for people to come and encounter Jesus. Our teams are about serving Jesus and loving people. Join here.
3. Give your treasure. Bring your tithes and offerings to honour God with your first fruits. Give here.
4. Join one of small groups called Communities here.
Let’s get back together and change our world for Jesus!