Church attendance

HOW DO YOU WALK INTO CHURCH?

What Christian needs to read a book entitled, “How to Walk Into Church”?

Tony Payne, who wrote just that book, thinks all of us need to reflect on the topic.

I heartily agree!

I did miss church my first Sunday on this earth, but after that, my track record is pretty good. I estimate that I have attended nearly 5000 Sunday morning services. If the math doesn’t seem to add up, it’s because I have attended multiple services for decades.

Even after my immersion in Sunday church life, I found “How to Walk Into Church” to be helpful.

Payne’s purpose is to help us to approach church life and specifically church attendance, thoughtfully. And at less than 50 pages, “How to Walk Into Church” is a packed book!

Among the stimulating thoughts:

We should walk into church praying about where to sit.

When does church start?

When does church actually finish?

Whether you have attended 6 church services or 6000, “How to Walk Into Church” will not only help you, it will equip you to encourage other Christians in an age when church attendance is increasingly thoughtless and sporadic.

 

I DON’T FEEL LIKE GOING

Over my years as a pastor, there is a sentiment I have heard many times:

“I didn’t feel like coming to church today, but I am so glad I did”

Has this ever happened to you?

I know the first part has,
I am feeling confident that the second part has too.

Showing up even when we don’t feel like it is an important step we push through doing for many reasons

It shouts to God who sees our struggle, that we really do love Him

It opens the door for our heart to be blessed in a way staying home certainly won’t provide

It encourages our church (and your pastors) just to have us there

It keeps us knowledgeable about what is happening right now in our church family

It gives us the platform to encourage others to show up anyway when they don’t feel like it

It continues our testimony to the world that our heart is with God and his people

It smacks our enemy in the face, because he didn’t get his way

It strengthens our soul for the next time we don’t feel like going

To gain some other thoughts about what to do when we don’t feel like going to church or small group etc., read this article by Pastor Joe Thorn, “When Your Heart Isn’t In It”.

He addresses how to process our thoughts when “we don’t want to do what we are created for”.

You were created to worship God – with the gathering of those who also love Him.

Let’s fulfill what we were created to be and do!

A WEEKLY DECISION WORTH MAKING

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On Thursday, I wrote about how we should love going to church.

I am following up with thoughts from another article that reminds us of the graces that come to us by consistently showing up at church – whether we feel like it or not.

Or, whether our kid’s sports league has a game or not!

Putting God first -yes that IS the decision involved- will be worth it.

Josh Thiessen at the Cripplegate Blog writes;

“I want to encourage other pastors and people to embrace the monotony of weekly attendance by looking at some of the grace that rubs off on us.”

Hopefully the word “monotony” doesn’t describe your general church experience. But certainly going to church every week can seem like an ordinary practice that doesn’t always make much difference in our lives.

The truth is that if we have the Spirit of God at work in us, then ordinary Sundays are at work in extraordinary ways.

Josh’s article gives us a few of those simple, yet important graces that will increase with a consistent commitment to our local church.

I LOVE GOING TO CHURCH

My Dad and older siblings at my first church home in Jackson Twp, NJ

I love going to church

I always have

It all started when I was 9 days old. My mom played the piano for our small church which had no nursery. So she slid me underneath in a basket (Moses style), and I have been in church ever since.

I really am excited when I arrive each week

Showing up at church is not the same as arriving at any other event. This is a gathering of those:

Jesus has saved,

the Father has adopted,

and the Holy Spirit has entered

We are meant to find blessing and be a blessing on every ordinary  Sunday.

We are to arrive with joyful expectation that God will be at work in ways that only God can work.

For these reasons, I enjoyed this little article by Trevin Wax, entitled “The Wonder of Sunday Morning”.

As you read it, be encouraged by the simply – yet significant graces of God that are taking place every time we come to church.

WHY GO TO CHURCH?

Why go to church?

Is it necessary, or just a good thing to do when it fits into the larger picture of life?

What is lost if we neglect regular church involvement?

Should involvement in a church be a top priority in our life?

Even among Christians the answers to these questions are not uniformly clear. At least that is what the increasing sporadic church attendance by professed Christians seems to indicate.

It really does matter how YOU would answer these questions.

What does church mean to you?

Why should you be committed to having a church home?

Why should you not just attend a church, but dive in whole heartedly?

Matt Manry shares some thoughts about this subject in his article “Prioritizing Church Attendance”.

In the end, what Matt thinks and what you think are not the ultimate answer. That is found in what God thinks – and says to us.