As you all are aware, we here at Messiah have started the transition and we are beginning the process of opening the doors for in-person services.
We are back. Soon we will be holding in person services we will be regathering… Hallelujah
I know, I get it. The church never closed. The church is the people, not the building. Someone reminds me of those points daily. But the doors to our church facilities have been closed. The opportunity to gather for worship in-person has been closed. A lot has transpired over the past few months, and we are moving forward..
Now it is time to return to in-person gathered worship. It is time to “return to church.” Why is it important to get back in the habit of regular and faithful attendance? Why should we make a new commitment to attend as regularly as possible? Why should we have to put on adult clothes and “go” to church, it is after all right here on my laptop? Here are five reasons.
- The Bible wants us to gather for worship. The writer of Hebrews is unequivocal: “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25, NLT). Gathering for worship is not an optional activity. It is not an occasional activity. It is an ongoing and regular commitment.
- The Bible emphasizes the importance of church. Think about it. After the four gospels, almost all of the New Testament is about the local church or directed to the local church. Throughout the New Testament, different local congregations met together and worshipped together. It is simply what believers do.
- When we gather together, we encourage each other. I am a classic introvert. Admittedly, I adjusted well to streaming services and Zoom community groups. But I readily admit I did not get or give the same level of encouragement as those times when we were physically present with each other. Look at Hebrews 10:25 again. The act of gathering is an act of encouragement.
- When we gather together, we encourage our pastors and staff. The encouragement of one another includes the encouragement of our pastors. They desperately need it. You cannot know the challenges of a pastor unless you have been one or are one. The stress and responsibilities they have had during the pandemic have been especially challenging. I pray that many people will return to the in-person gatherings with new levels of commitment. Our pastors will be greatly encouraged.
- We grow spiritually when we commit to faithful attendance. We grow as a believer in Christ when we have a committed prayer life. We grow when we are committed to read Scripture daily. We grow when we share our faith regularly. We grow when we serve in ministry. And we grow when we commit to attend worship services faithfully. That attendance is a spiritual discipline. It is a vital and necessary act toward greater spiritual maturity.
The pandemic and quarantine have been transformational moments for our world and our church. We now have the incredible opportunity to hit the reset button in our own lives. For many Christians, committed church attendance was waning before the pandemic. God has reminded us, perhaps even given us a major wake-up call, how really important the gathered church is.
Get ready to return to the gathered church. But do so this time with a new enthusiasm and faithful commitment every week.
It’s a habit we cannot and should not neglect.