Do I Really Need to go Back to Church?

The recent “hunker-down” ordeal that we have just been through has really changed the way people view their lives.  There is really no way to tell when things will return to normal, if at all.  Its being reported that we will be required to wear masks and be socially distant for the remainder of the year or possibly longer.  Even schools across the nation are looking at new schedules that will split time at home and in school for students.  Employers also are slow to reintegrate their workforce.

Churches, including ours, responded to this change by transitioning to online worship experiences.  Some were ready to do this.  Others, like us, struggled with the technology to make it work, but eventually got there.  These streaming services are by no means perfect but have attempted to fill the void of restricted attendance.  Some positives that came out of this was that more people “attended” services, people could still feel connected, and the church was able to reach some who would never think of coming into the building.

Now that restrictions are being lifted, what is the next step?  Do you come back, or do you stay away?  Here are my thoughts on the matter:

The Church is more than a building, but it is the building

Some have argued that the church is more than a building.  True, but misleading.  The church building exists as a training center for believers.  The church building serves as a starting point, especially for young believers, to become engaged, rooted, and built up so they can face the world.  The church building serves as a guide, a place to discover and learn to use the tools given us.  Having a place to gather, while we still can, serves as a rallying point and to receive our marching orders.  We will not always have this in the time to come.

An online ministry is great until you need something

Some people find it easy just to watch a minister on TV or YouTube.  Online ministries can be great, but they are not your pastor.  A pastor is the “sheep-leader”, one who follows the Shepherd and guides the other sheep on the path.  In addition, the pastor of your local church gives the vision for that body, prays for you, and helps to lead you to Christ.  Some do not like to be led like that, and become astray, vulnerable to the predators.  You never realize how much you need a pastor until you do.

Fellowship is a familial connection

I never understood why we always called each other “Brother” or “Sister”, until I realized that the church family is truly my family!  We fight sometimes – that is what family does.  Then, we make up and go forward.  That is the other thing that family does.  Further, we are called the Bride of Christ, which means that we are a big deal to Him.  This fellowship makes our connection as a point between each other, and with God.  Having opened the church for the past couple of weeks, I have seen the joy on people’s faces as they saw each other again.  We need that fellowship.  It is so much easier to worship when you feel the corporate worship of other believers.

Would God keep you away?

I believe the enemy has lied to people and convinced them that they do not need church, which really goes against everything Scripture says.  Would God tell you to stay away from what He created?  Would He make an exception just for you so you do not have to come, and you can just have church to yourself in your home?  That does not sound like Him.  If you read in Exodus and Leviticus, God painfully detailed every aspect of the offerings and sacrifices, in addition to various laws, so that the people would have no excuse.  We have all bought into that lie at some point or another – that we can just worship at home.  But God has designed us for fellowship, to be accountable to one another.  Distance does not allow that.

Conclusion

While there are some who are compromised, most are ready and able to return.  For those that are not ready due to being compromised, I believe God has given you special grace.  For that reason, we will still offer the online streaming so we can reach those who need it.  But for some, its time to come back.  Do not fall into the habit of missing church, and do not fall into the habit of justifying it. 

It is time to come home…


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