Enjoying the Journey
Boredom seems to be the order of the day. Why go to church anyhow?
Church attendance nationally is on the decline. Even among those who go, few seem to enjoy being there. It is a religious routine. An empty form.
Surely this is not what the Lord had in mind when He said, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Heb. 10:25). I believe the meetings of Christ with His primitive church must have been very meaningful. The assembly of the early church in Acts was purposeful and powerful!
And so it should be to us.
God’s people should come to church meetings determined to get everything God has for them. The irony is that the way to get the most out of a church meeting is not to go to get something at all. It is to give. As we give ourselves to the Lord, to others, and to the church meeting, the Lord gives us what we need!
Here are a few suggestions for this Lord’s day…
- Prepare your heart before you ever get there. Ask the Lord to speak to you. Pray for those who will minister – you will get more out of the preaching if you pray for the preacher! Go early. Quiet your heart as you come to the meeting and work to lay aside distractions.
- Get out of your group of immediate friends and speak to others. “He that hath friends must shew himself friendly” (Prov. 18:24). So often churches are filled with religious cliques that hinder the fellowship of believers and the strengthening of the body. Speak to a new visitor. Sit by someone who needs encouragement. Shake hands with a person you don’t normally speak to. God will use you…and He will use it in your life.
- Participate in every part of the meeting. When the congregation sings, sing! When the offering is received, give! When someone leads in prayer, it presupposes that others are following in prayer. Don’t just listen – seek the Lord. Spectators don’t find the blessing. Participants do.
- Go to be a blessing, not to get one. People often leave churches and say, “I’m just not getting fed.” While that may be true in some places, I fear that the greater problem is many people never learn to feed anyone else. Make it your mission to encourage and edify others. As you do, you will find a special blessing.
- Pray throughout the meeting for yourself and for others. Breathe a prayer for your pastor. For souls. Commune with God and intercede for people.
- Follow along in God’s Word and take notes of truths you need to remember and repeat. Write down what you do not want to forget. Plan to put the truth you hear into action and to pass it along.
- Respond when God speaks. Never be ashamed to kneel at an altar, to say amen, or to obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
- Refuse to be critical. Avoid empty chatter both at the meeting and after. Major on the good and not the negatives. Do not tear down God’s servants or speak against the Lord’s people. Gossip and griping never honor God.
- Talk with others about what the Lord did in your heart. Speak a good word to someone before you even leave the meeting place. Talk to your family on the way home about the sermon and the work of God. Share the truth you received with others throughout the week. God will flow more freely through an open tributary than into a dead sea.
- Minister gratitude to those who minister God’s Word to you. A kind word goes a long way. Do not take for granted those who are used of the Lord to lead you forward for Christ. “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things” (Gal. 6:6). Communicate gratitude and appreciation to those who teach you God’s truth.
There are many other things that God will show you about making the most of a church meeting. We all must begin somewhere. Would you join me in trying to apply these principles this week?
Don’t just go to church – make the most of it!