Last week, I said you don’t need to go to church (if you didn’t read it, check it out here) and I hope you understand what I meant, because I still mean it!
If you didn’t get it, let me spell it out a little more clearly. You don’t need to go to church, but that was never the point. Because church isn’t about you. It’s about what you’re able to do for others and what we’re able to do together. This is what the writer of Hebrews reminds us of.
“We should keep on encouraging each other to be thoughtful and to do helpful things. Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer.” –Hebrews 10:24-25
We talked a little bit last week about how our culture as a whole is less church-centered, and I don’t think the reason is as complex as we like to make it. Our culture is more and more self-centered and from that world view, church doesn’t make sense. Our society seems to be constantly asking “what’s in it for me?” and if I’m honest, I find myself following the trend more often than I’m comfortable with.
And if I’m not careful, I’ll approach church with the same attitude. “What’s in it for me?” But since when was I the focus of the church. Do I get something out of attending regularly? Yes. Do I leave each week feeling refreshed and focused on Jesus? Usually. Do I enjoy it? Absolutely. But nevertheless, what I get out of it was never the point.
When I miss a Sunday or a small group, it’s not just a sermon that I miss, or a song or a prayer. I miss opportunities to serve. Even when I don’t have anything specific to do, I miss opportunities to connect with people. I miss moments to create new relationships. This is why Sundays and small groups are important. Not because of what God does for me at church, but because of what God does through me as part of the church.
You’ve probably heard someone who was leaving church behind say something like “I’m just not getting fed.” When I hear someone say that, I always think they must assume church should be like an all-you-can-eat buffet. You come in, pay your bill, sit in your favorite spot, treat yourself until you are about to puke and come back next time you’re hungry.
If you approach church with that attitude, you’re going to leave disappointed because the more we make church about ourselves, the less church makes sense. But the more we make it about other people and the work Jesus is doing in all of us to help one another grow closer to Him, the more vital it becomes to our weekly routine.
When you fully embrace what church is meant to be (a family) and fully embrace your place in it, you’ll realize how much you need to be a part of it. We all have something to bring to the table. When you go to church or small group this week, don’t think “what’s in it for me?” Think about the God you came to worship, the church family He’s given you and how He’s using you within that family. Sometimes you may feel like you don’t need church, but I know the church needs you.