This past week I spoke on “Church” as part of our Home Life series. Specifically the reality that God the Father has redeemed a people through Christ’s saving work to be His Family and His Home. (Eph 2:22). What an incredible and reality, but as imperfect people this profound truth doesn’t come without difficulty. The expectations of life and the temptations of our own hearts conspire to choke this new life right out of us. (Luke 8:9-15)
I was thinking of some of the ways this manifests itself and had planned to write some on it today. I thought a good place to start might be where most of us begin and so many of us can struggle; The Weekly Worship Gathering.
A Sunday service is were many of us first heard the gospel and met Jesus, the place where we first saw and experienced grace and the people we first gathered with and called our family after conversion. I think it’s no coincidence that weekly gathered worship is in decline, out of vogue and under attack. No wonder scripture constantly seeks to remind us of, call us back to and admonish us not to ignore it. Weekly Worship Matters. Despite what’s currently culturally cool to think; God’s people gathering regularly to worship and enjoy Him together is crucial to our walk with Him.
When I sat down to put some thoughts to paper, I happened to see friend and fellow pastor Ryan Huguley (@RyanHuguley) had a new post on his blog that was inline with my thinking and articulated it way better than I would have. This affirmed my ideas and confirmed the reality that it’s not just an “our church” issue, but a present and growing reality in our culture as Christ Followers.
My hope is that we might read, examine ourselves, talk about it with others and enjoy the blessings of worshiping together weekly anew. With his permission, below are the first 3 of pastor Ryan’s “6 Reasons to Worship Weekly” with a link to read the remainder of his insightful thoughts.
Few things frustrate pastors more than the inconsistent attendance of weekly worship by the people who call their church “home.” I grew up in a home where we rarely missed church. Now I’m a pastor, so it’s even more uncommon that I miss church. So, I may not have the most objective view point on this, but I never cease to be amazed at the reasons people are willing to miss church. Sporting events, sleep, and social gatherings are just a few of the sad reasons people skip church without a second thought.
What concerns me most is not the numbers missing from our attendance, but the blessings missing in the lives of those who make a habit of missing weekly worship in a local church. Here are six blessings we receive when we gather for worship on a weekly basis…
Yes, I know you can worship in your car, in your living room and anywhere else you choose to ascribe worth to Jesus. BUT . . . something unique happens when we worship Jesus TOGETHER. When we join with our church family and the angels of heaven and lift high the name of Jesus, God’s glory is evident in a special way. Some of the most powerful moves of God in my life have happened in a weekly worship service. I won’t begin to try and explain it, but God’s presence is uniquely displayed when we gather each week.
The Christian life is becoming increasingly lonely in our culture. It’s not popular to profess Biblical faith in Jesus anymore. That’s why it’s such good news that God hasn’t just saved us from our sin, but also TO a community. The New Testament has no category for a lone ranger Christian who is disconnected from a local church. Community should happen throughout the week, but at the very least, we need weekly connection with other followers of Christ.
One of the greatest honors I experience as a pastor is when people ask me to pray for them. Each week we pray for wisdom, healing, strength, assurance, freedom, salvation . . . I could go on and on. It doesn’t have to be a pastor, but you need people praying over you. Not just FOR you, but OVER you. People who will lay their hands on you and lift their voice over you and pray for God’s good will in your life. That can and should happen every time we gather.