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Let us Commit to Church Attendance
Last Saturday night, I said to my husband in my best pathetic voice possible, “Maybe you guys just go to church in the morning without me…”
Of course, that’s not what happened. I smacked the excuses back down and rallied myself the next morning, but sheesh! Will I always have the temptation to say that? Even after all these years of trying to focus my life around Jesus and to live a holy, obedient life?
I’m still embarrassed that even came out of my mouth!
Sure, I feel like I have an abundance of extra excuses right now — I am not a good pregnant person, I have a young toddler, we just moved internationally and my brain still seems a bit unadjusted, we aren’t in our own home and I am stinking tired.
But you betcha I could make that amount of excuses at any other time of my life. I guarantee it!
If it’s occasionally hard for me to find the motivation to get to church, I can’t imagine the temptations bombarding new Christians. Whether they are returning to the church or just found Jesus for the first time, they clearly haven’t been living Christlike for very long and there may well be a lot of extra distractions.
Plus, there are a lot of “issues” in the church that give even more excuses –
“No one greets me.”
“They don’t stand to read the Bible.”
“Ugh, the music.”
“There are too many hypocrites.”
“The chairs aren’t comfortable.”
“The coffee is bad.”
“The decoration is so last century.”
And on and on.
I guess I’m saying all this today to let you know it happens. The temptation to not go to church (especially for introverts like me), to just skip “one week” (which typically turns into more) or to start the listing of excuses is so alive. And I also want to bring you back to the Bible. Hebrews 10 has a great call to persevere and I encourage you to read the whole chapter. Verses 24-25 say:
And 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.
I absolutely love the note that goes along with this passage in my study Bible*:
To neglect Christian meetings is to give up the encouragement and help of other Christians. We gather together to share our faith and to strengthen one another in the Lord. As we get closer to the “Day” when Christ will return, we will face many spiritual struggles, and even times of persecution. Anti-Christian forces will grow in strength. Difficulties should never be excuses for missing church services. Rather, as difficulties arise, we should make an even greater effort to be faithful in attendance.
I strongly believe that the author of Hebrews was not talking about just Sunday morning worship services. When I read this, I apply it to all gatherings with Christians. It’s of vital importance to go deeper than the weekend celebrations — there must be a “between Sunday” discipleship within smaller, more intimate gatherings to truly grow as Christians. But that’s a digression we need to cover another day…
For those of you who are new Jesus followers, I hope with all that’s in me that you’ll stay committed. Remember the church is made up of people — all at different levels of maturity — who are going to make mistakes. Assuming you are attending a church with a sound biblical theology and with leadership teaching and living the same, I implore you to not let anything else distract you from making the commitment. Keep your eyes on Jesus and He really will guide you through the can-be-terrifying beginnings of church attendance. You won’t regret it.
For those of you who are not new but are currently (or will be) introducing others to Jesus, I hope this gives you another place to point them. Scripture has all we need. Click “Pre-Christians” up top for my growing collection of blog posts “for those who are coming.” It’s important we be ready to welcome them! Additionally, welcome them when you see them at church. Invite them to lunch that same day – be specific and determined to get them connected.
Have you struggled in this area? Have you conquered it? Can I pray for you? Please comment below so we can connect together.
*NIV Life Application Study Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.