I was perusing my Facebook wall the other day when I came upon a blog post from a pastor I know. The title of the article was "Why Attending Church No Longer Makes Sense." I couldn't resist. I had to click on it to see what he had to say. He began by talking about the changes in our culture, the many activities that compete with Sunday morning worship attendance and a trend being experienced by many churches of members attending less frequently than they once did. Then he got to the heart of the matter. As followers of Christ, we are not really meant to attend church, we're meant to BE the church.
Does that mean we shouldn't gather for worship on Sunday? Actually just the opposite. It means we should not only gather, but we should engage. When we "attend" a ball game, a movie or a play, the implication is that we come, observe and enjoy. When we come together on Sundays, it is not to attend church. It is to be the church. Here is the difference.
To be the church is to be a participant. When we gather on Sundays, we are not coming just to observe. We are coming to be a part of an experience. We sing, we pray, we praise God together. To be the church is to be relational. I'm sure you have heard before that the church is not the building. The church is the people. It is the body of Christ, His followers brought together in community through shared relationship. When we gather, we are community. Being together allows us to build relationship. It allows us to listen to and care for one another. It allows us to be the family of God to one another. That can only happen when we gather.
Being the church also means combining our gifts and abilities with the gifts and abilities of others in order for the work of Christ to be done. We are all gifted to serve. Some of us certainly serve at times other than Sunday morning, but there are many for whom Sunday morning is their time to serve. Among those are ushers, greeters, coffee makers and other hospitality staff. There are worship leaders, praise team members, prayer team and tech staff. Now add nursery workers, Nextgen leaders and adult life group leaders, and the list is still not complete.
If you are planning on "attending" church this Sunday, I would ask you to begin thinking differently about that. Let's all quit just going to church. Instead, let's be the church. Let's come prepared to engage ourselves in worship. Let's come with a desire to serve where ever we can. And let's come desiring to be true community. Let's BE the church.
Also, I would ask you to keep our Honduras Mission team in prayer. If you would like to see an update of how they are doing, please visit this blog post from Pastor Rachel and Jon. I look forward to seeing you all "be the church" as we gather this Sunday to continue our series on Biblical life hacks.
Before I sign off I want to highlight a few important thing:
- This Sunday immediately after worship at our Sandown location will be a brief meeting to talk about our nextgen ministry. I hope all of you in Sandown will take a few minutes to stay and hear some of he exciting things that are coming.
- Men. If you haven't signed up for the retreat yet, I hope you will soon. I believe God has an amazing weekend in store for us. Click here to register.
- Summer Day Camp. If you haven't registered your kids yet, or if you would like to sign up to be a volunteer, you can do both at this link.
- Soulfest. We are nearly sold out of ticket. Last I heard we had just a few left. If you had hope to go, but have not yet registered, I would encourage you to do that immediately. If you have registered but haven't paid yet, I would also encourage you to do that right away. Otherwise, we may think you are not really coming and we will make your ticket available to someone on the waiting list.