November 8, 2023
Family Church Participation
Why is family church participation expected of us? Because God wants it to be like the family and because relationships matter. I remember when I was on a deployment to Iraq, my wife had a crisis at home. Our front porch collapsed because it was a poorly poured slab of concrete. The water would build up against the threshold when it rained and, when bad enough, come through the door. It got worse after the collapse because it became a giant funnel. Our church family came out and replaced the porch. We are forever grateful for this expression of love.
Pattern for Excellence
How can you claim a deep relationship with Jesus and not go to the assembly of Christians? Church participation is continuing a pattern for excellence in your life. This pattern starts with private devotion, moves through family, and outward through corporate devotions. The church is where disciples make more disciples. Many people attend church with no intention of ever becoming disciples. Another way of saying, these are Christians who never want to be transformed.
Furthermore, it makes no sense why people would come to sit in a church service but never become a part of the body of Christ. Do you not go to school to be transformed? To continue your education means you seek more transformation. You go to a gym or run a 5k because you expect something transformational. Positive personal change comes only through active participation (you can sit on the couch and be transformed into a potato). James, the brother of Jesus, says, “For just as the [human] body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works [of obedience] is also dead.” (James 2:26 AMP)
Our Great Commission
Anything that Jesus commands is not optional. At his ascension to heaven, he commands us to “go and make disciples of all the nations…Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” (Matthew 28:19-20) The implied message is to go to church. What better place to make disciples? Furthermore, we are commanded to be like Jesus. “As was his custom” in Luke’s Gospel, or another way of saying this, “he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures.” (ESV and NLT versions; emphasis mine) Jesus went to church every week and participated. We should value gathering with the saints for worship just as much as Jesus did. Just calling the church the bride of Christ should tell you how important it is to Jesus. In the Bible, it may not explicitly say that you must go to church, but Jesus did, and you are commanded to be like Christ.
The church is not about what you can get. The wrong question most folks ask is, “What’s in it for me?” Or they say, “I don’t get anything out of going to church.” You are probably not getting anything out because you’re not investing anything in the first place. When you invest in the church, it becomes a place where your talents can grow, your testimony can be told, your faithfulness can be shown, and where you can be discipled and disciple others.
Remedy the Situation
If your irregular church participation is driven by your belief that it is flawed or broken, now is the chance to remedy the situation. The most important reason we go is to worship. We are not meant to be alone because God created us to have relationships. You are not meant to worship God alone; we are created to worship Him in relationship with others. Looking back to Genesis, God looks at Adam and declares it is not good to be alone. God said it wasn’t enough to be alone with Him. Adam needed someone to be with him and with God. The writer of the book of Hebrews emphasizes this and says, “Do not neglect meeting up or to gather together.”
Worship songs are just as important as sermons, and both need to be theologically correct. John’s gospel tells us that God is looking for worshippers who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23) Worship will take you deeper, and the more you will understand God. Great worshippers will block out all distractions. You can practice this by listening to God-centered worship music while away from the church. Church bonds and binds us to each other and to God. We have a private devotion to God, and now we also have a public devotion to Him. Just as our bodies need food, we need spiritual food that can only come through devoted public worship.
Author: Jon-Roy Sloan is the Chief Communications Officer for NationsUniversity and the author of Anastasia Smiles: Love Needs No Translation. Disclaimer statement: Please note that the opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone and are based on his personal understanding of scripture and how God works in our lives and do not necessarily reflect the views of NationsUniversity®.