Church services all over the world are being canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. The church I regularly attend in Virginia has canceled services for at least the next two weeks. However, I am currently stuck with our CCI team in Guatemala unable to leave the country since the borders have been closed. Churches in Guatemala have also had to cancel services.
I believe God can use this time to remind us just how special and important our churches are. Sometimes when we have something on a regular basis we begin to take it for granted. And so, as millions of Christians are staying home over these next few weeks, let us thank the Lord for the freedom we usually enjoy and the opportunity we normally have to gather as His followers.
I want to take this opportunity to answer two questions related to church. Why do we attend church? And second, what church should you attend?
The Bible talks about the importance of church attendance in Hebrew 10:24-25.
“Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
The Bible says we ought to, “stir up love and good works,” when we gather together. But even in the early church some people did not prioritize church attendance. Perhaps because some were offended by others in the church? I once read, “Not going to church because you see imperfect people is like not going to the gym because you see some who are out of shape.” There certainly is some wisdom in that! People do offend, even Christians. Our motivation to attend church should not be because we want to spend time with perfect people, but rather to grow in the Lord together.
Perhaps others in the early church did not attend because they prioritized work and worldly production over spiritual things. Or maybe they just wanted to rest following a long week of work. A million years from now will it have mattered more if someone went to church, worked, or rested? We take church for granted, but it is so important for our spiritual growth.
We have seen in scripture that church is vital, so what church should we attend? It is important to remember the warning in scripture that false prophets deceive many and this is especially true in the day we live in. I would recommend three things when considering a church.
Ask yourself, “If Jesus was sitting on the front row would He be pleased by what He sees?” In other words, is the worship geared toward entertaining the people or focused on worshiping Him who alone is worthy? Are the sermons always, “tickling the ears of the people,” as the Bible warns against or does the preacher speak boldly what God declares in the Bible?
Ask yourself, “Twenty years from now is this church going to take me to new levels in God? Or will you remain the same?”
Finally, pray and pray some more! “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6
Any other topics you might like to read about? Let me know.