Why do I attend Church? I wake up early for it every Sunday. My schedule throughout the week revolves around it’s calendar. I’ve turned down invitations to other social events because of it. I willingly miss half of Sunday’s football games because it. Why is it so important to me?
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I’m a Christian. That means that I have surrendered my life to the leadership and lordship of Jesus Christ. I believe with everything in my being that 2000 years ago, Jesus was crucified on a cross serving the penalty due for the sins of the whole world. I hold tightly to the promises found in the Bible that assures my faith in Jesus is what credits my sins forgiven (John 3:16, Romans 10:9, Ephesians 2:8). And it’s my faith in Jesus that unites me with millions of other believers around the world into what is the Bible calls “the church”.
I’m grateful for the Church.
*Because I am a member of the Church, I know that I’m not alone in my faith. (Hebrews 10:24)
*Because I am a member of the Church, I know that others are praying for me. (James 5:14)
*Because I am a member of the Church, my family has other Christians to look up to. (Titus 2:2-3)
*Because I am a member of the Church, I am a part of a larger fellowship. (Acts 2:42)
No one can argue that the Bible gives the expectation for all believers to be a part of the Church. And why wouldn’t you want to; the benefits for Christians are innumerable.
However, as I’m sure every Christian has had such conversations, I’ve endured my fair share of excuses why the Church is irrelevant. As I listen to people share with me the reasons why Church is not important to them, I’ve discovered that the primary problem with Church attendance is made clear with answers to two primary questions.
Am I Focused on My Agenda?
When I attend Church, am I most concerned about the Church meeting my needs and attending to my preferences? Am I looking for music that appeals to my feelings? Am I going to throw a fit if someone sits in my seat? Am I concerned more about whether people miss me when I’m away than I am about what I missed while I was away? Am I tempted to withhold my tithe if the church leaders don’t ask my opinion about how the money is spent? Am I more concerned about my point of view being heard than I am about God’s mission for the Church?
Am I Focused on the Church’s Mission?
I am sold out for the mission God has given the Church. I know that no one here is perfect and that we are all dependent upon the grace of Jesus for our salvation. I’m quick to forgive others because Jesus has forgiven me. I’m committed to doing whatever it takes for more people meet Jesus through the ministry of my Church. I love my Church because it’s a place where the Gospel taught. I pray daily for my pastor because he has been commissioned to preach the Gospel. I’m excited about the future of my community because I believe the Gospel will change lives.
Thom Rainer is the president of Lifeway Christian Resources. In a power-packed little book he recently wrote called, I Am a Church Member, Rainer said this: “God did not give us local churches to become country clubs where membership means we have privileges and perks. He placed us in churches to serve, to care for others, to pray for leaders, to learn, to teach, to give, and in some cases, to die for the sake of the gospel.”
What would be different in the Church if we all adjusted our focus from My Agenda to the Church’s Mission? (Share your thoughts in the comment section below.)