Sunday, August 19, 2018, 08:38 PM

It’s Sunday morning and I should really go to church but we’re all tired from Saturday’s activities, the weather will be great again today and if I don’t mow the lawn soon I won’t be able to see the dog in the tall grass, plus both cars need washing. And why is it so important to actually attend church anyway? I can watch any number of excellent church services, listen to countless sermons and sing along with every contemporary Christian song ever written right here on ON-LINE.

There will always be reasons why you may not be able to actually attend church. You’re out of town, or your work schedule interferes with service times or you must stay at home with a sick family member. And praise God you can experience ‘church’ via technology. It’s a wonderful tool in an emergency.

But for those with no restrictive issues, then ON-LINE should not be a substitute for IN-PERSON. And here are several reasons why God wants us to worship together in His house; “On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place” (Acts 2:1)

1. Fellowship and Relationships (Acts 2:42, 46-47)

The early church, a template for today’s church, understood that believers meeting together create community. You can find good teaching and truth online but you need to be in church to experience the fellowship of fellow believers and develop relationships within the church body.

2. Taking Communion, Worshipping and Praying Together (Acts 2:42, 46-47)

Churches share communion together, some share meals together. There can be time for Prayer and Praise, where the congregation can ask for prayer and share praise reports, so the church can pray and celebrate praise as a body (Acts 2:15).  And what a joy to worship and sing praise songs to the Lord in unison (Col 3:16).

3. Our Family of God (Acts 2:44-45)

Church is not a building – it’s people. Christ is the head of the church (the body) and we, as believers, are a part of that body, and we each have spiritual gifts given us by the Lord (Col 1:18, 1Cor 12:27, 1Cor 12:12-22)

We need each other. The church needs us to serve. Church isn’t taking in selfishly; it’s giving out selflessly. We don’t attend church solely for our own benefit. We’re also to serve the body of Christ caring more about others than our own convenience.

4. Accountability and Mentoring (Col 3:16)

Like mentioned earlier, there is going to be a time when we can’t make it to church, but it should be the exception, not the rule. A recent survey noted that the “average attender” is one who attends 2 or more times a month and that the number of “average attenders” is steadily dropping year after year. The tendency today is to isolate ourselves in front of electronics where we interact with a screen instead of each other. A mouse or touchscreen replaces a friendly hug, handshake or face-to-face interaction.  One way to stay true to your faith, as a believer, is joining a church to spiritually grow and mature with other believers who can encourage us and keep us accountable.

Church is more than just listening to a sermon; it’s an experience and an exchange with other believers. I heard a preacher say once that when you are worshipping God you need to be present.  In other words, your mind needs to be present, so many things can distract our minds. He jokingly said “if you’re washing the car while listening to my sermon on your iPhone, you’re probably not present”.

5. Role Model for Children

So yes, you can watch a service online anonymously and probably get something out of it, but what are you putting first in your life that seeks out convenience instead of commitment? It takes more effort to get dressed and drive to church than to flip on the mobile device. Your children and grandchildren are learning by your actions what takes priority in your life: God’s house or your house. Teach by example that church is a privilege we should never take for granted.

The world of social media can be an awesome ‘first connection’ tool for churches. A way to make first impressions on someone searching for God or for a church, but it should NEVER become a substitute for an IN-PERSON church life.

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (Heb 10:25)

(excerpts from Janet Thompson)

Arlene wrote:
Friday, November 9, 2018, 11:08 PM
I remember one time one of my children's friends came to me, she saw me leave every week for church and she never went, but when her husband abused her she came to me and said. I know from your daughter and from you being gone every Sunday after noon that you are a Christian and I need help. I was able to help her , and she was able to escape from her husband, and for me it was a reminder that people are watching, and we are suppose to stand ready and willing to say Yes Lord.
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