What does it mean to be faithful to the house of God in 2017 and does it really mean as much as it use to? That seems to be a question that many churches are asking. Over the last decade, the church world has done many different things to try to encourage people to attend church regularly. Some have tried to make church attendance more convenient so that people can have different options of when they can attend church. There are early morning church services, mid-day church services, and even church services at night for those that do not want to get out of the bed in the morning. The church has tried to remake the worship experiences so that it is more appealing to the culture that we live in today. In many churches the dress is casual and the worship is high energy with lights, smoke, and a set time for dismissal. Yet with all of this, there are many churches that struggle with faithful attendance. There are many churches that struggle with people actually maturing in their faith. In our culture, so many times church growth is nothing more than church transfer where people get tired something and they move to something different. In the last decade, we have coined the phrase “church shopping” to indicate we are looking for a new church, the same way that we look for a new car.
With the change in culture, the discipline of faithful church attendance has suffered. When I was a child I can count on one hand how many times that I missed going to church on Sunday. Vacations, family reunions, and any other event were planned around church services, not the other way around. Church attendance was something that was seen as important and vital to spiritual discipline. Today there are many in the church that will miss church for anything and never think much about it. As a pastor I heard things like one of my only days off is Sunday and so it is the only day I have. Yet years ago people worked more hours and yet were more faithful to church attendance. Years ago there were more days to attend church. Today many churches have cut the Sunday night church service because of low attendance when in times past Sunday night was a time of worship, fellowship, and joy. Things have changed a great deal over the last few years and so the question is what does attending church faithfully mean to us?
- Attending Church regularly allows me to experience the Glory of God
Though I do understand that experiencing the glory of God does not come simply from attending church, I also understand that there is no greater place to experience the glory of God than in the midst of a worship service. The glory of God is a result of a believer staying in the presence of God and when we as a church come together there is an experience like no other. In 2 Chronicles 5, we find this when they were dedicating the temple to God. The Bible says that as the musicians began to play in one accord that the glory of God was so great that it was as if a cloud was in the temple and the musicians were unable to stand.
In the worship experience of the church, we experience God like no other place. When the people of God come together in cooperate worship the Holy Spirit response by moving in our lives. When we miss coming to the house of God we miss that moving of the Spirit, we miss the empowerment that comes to us through this. Yes, I know God can move on us anywhere and at any time but there is something about being together that God uses to manifest Himself to His people. Church worship allows us to experience God in a way that we just cannot by our self.
- Attending Church regularly connects you to the Community of Believers
We have to understand that living for God is a community affair. We need one another to grow and mature as Christian. Coming to church regularly allows us to be a part of the community and enables us to grow within the community. When a person is not faithful in their attendance then they become disconnected and fill that they are not apart of what is going on. Before you know it not coming to church becomes easier and before you know if you are out of church altogether. Now I understand that not everything in the church is great, after all, we are people and none of us are perfect and there are no perfect churches. When we come regularly we are contributing to the community and in doing that we can help to make it better and help it to grow, which is what Jesus has called us to do. The community offers us support, encouragement, accountability, and love and these are things that we all need in our life.
- Attending Church regularly builds healthy lasting relationships
One writer said, “We are a product of the relationships that we have in life”. The church offers a place for us to build healthy relationships that will help us to become healthy Christians. As we attend church we become a part of the fellowship that is created and relationships come out of that. Some of the best friends that I have come out of the church. People that I served God with and before you know it they become life long friends. I not only met friends at the church but I met my wife at the church. The church is a place where you can build Godly relationships that will help you as you move forward in life. Let’s face it we all need people in our life that can help us through the hard times, celebrate with us in the good times, and just do life with in the other times. The church offers that to all those that are willing to be faithful.
- Attending Church regularly gives you the opportunity to make an impact in the Kingdom
In this life, we all want to make a difference. We want to know that our life meant something and the church is a place where you can accomplish that. God has a purpose for your life and the church is the means that God uses for you to use your gift. There is no place like the church when it comes to doing something that makes an eternal impact. In the church, you realize that you are apart of something that is much larger than you are, and you can fulfill the purpose that God has for you. The church is not just about coming and sitting on a pew but it is about getting involved in the mission that God has for His people. When you are faithful to the church then the leadership can have confidence in your and allow you to operate in the gift that God has for you. There is no greater joy than knowing that you are fulfilling the purpose of God for your life.
These are just a few of the reasons that attending church faithful can add to your life. I believe in the day that we live there has never been a greater need to make sure that we are attending the church faithfully So this Sunday make sure that you are in the House of God and see what great things He does in your life.