18 Feb Attending Church – Words of Grace Blog – February 18, 2022
Last week, I wrote about preparing for church. This week, let’s think about attending church.
There was a day when I didn’t give much attention to why and how I went to church. Looking back, I would say the reason I attended church was because that was what I was supposed to do, that’s where I had friends, and for the most part I enjoyed it. As for how I attended church, I can see that I did so with very little intentionality. I didn’t enter the gathering with thoughts of what I would do for God’s glory, my discipleship, or the good of others.
There came a day when I began to attend church in a more thoughtful way. This may be because I found myself in a church where I didn’t know the people. My new church did things differently than the way we did them in my previous church. I may have started thinking more about church as I saw more and more people stop attending church because they didn’t “get anything out of it.”
Over time, I came to see more clearly why and how I attend church.
The reason for attending church was obvious to me. God saved sinners and gathered them into his family and commanded them to gather for the purposes of worship, preaching and teaching the word, prayer, and mutual help in following Christ (Acts 2: 41-42, Hebrews 10: 24-25). So, I committed myself to go to church.
The way I attend church took more thought. Here are some things I have learned about how to attend church.
Arrive on time. Better late than never, but best on time or a little early. We are humans, and entering a place late affects us.
Pray as you enter the building. Ask God to glorify himself, build up his people, and work among us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Bring what you need, especially a Bible.
Add space for other people. Show them where to go. Invite them into your conversation. Introduce yourself to them and them to others.
Give people space and grace. Some people don’t speak to others because they are new to Grace or are carrying a heavy burden. They may not sing or read with the congregation because of some internal struggle. They may not know Christ and so have no reason to engage. Don’t judge, pray silently, approach with care.
Remember there are people who do not know Christ personally, are new to church, or are visitors among us each week. This will help us speak in ways that are helpful for the need of the moment and save other conversations for more appropriate times.
Serve the Lord and others with gladness. Whatever your task on Sundays, or however you serve organically and spontaneously, give yourself away with joy.
Pray for people and with people on the spot. People ask me all the time to pray for them. For years I said I would but then forgot and didn’t. Now, I stop and pray.
Pray for the preaching and teaching, and the preacher and teachers, of God’s word. Faith comes from hearing the word of Christ.
Sing and read with the congregation. Do this because it is part of the practice of corporate worship, and because doing so with gusto edifies the congregation and encourages others to join in.
Most of all, ask the Lord to help you engage with the true purpose and in the most helpful way for attending church.
Let’s pray for God’s work among us Sunday as we gather.