Some wit once compared the church to Noah’s ark, we couldn’t stand the conditions inside if it weren’t for those outside. That haunts me. Research reveals that over half of self-identified Christians have no connection with a larger group of followers—meaning we may have more Christians outside the church than inside. The church that Jesus died to create.
So, rather than examining the flaws of the gathered church, let’s explore what is likely the best reason to be inside, despite some common conditions.
I can ignore
your whispers that convict me of my sins
in the busyness of daily life, doing what I “must”
I allow you, the apex of my life
to slip into the shadows
But Sunday comes
your unending compassion
and overwhelming love
provides the courage
to listen once more
overwhelmed by my depravity
I then see it swallowed
by your grace
A grace amazingly
than all my sin
Many followers often connect with God, they strive to obey him, but they see little need to meet regularly with fellow followers for worship. At least in part, I understand that reluctance. I pastored churches for over 20 years, and know their failings far better than those who aren’t involved.
But I think we miss something by viewing worship attendance as a duty, which many of us do, instead of a grace-filled privilege. My busyness and sinful nature conspire to persuade me to place God at the fringes of my life. I don’t deny; I merely ignore.
However, gathering with a church who knows how to get us lost in worship changes me. It provides the courage to reconnect with God more intensely. His transcendence overwhelms my own busyness; his grace transcends my sin nature. And with that, the main barriers to spiritual intimacy dissolve.
God doesn’t need me to admire him in worship. But I need to see him more clearly, particularly his transcendence and love and power, and corporate worship does that. We get caught up in a wave of God subtly moving through his people. Maybe, just maybe, if we saw and talked about the value of worship, others would see the privilege rather than obligation.
Kick Starting the Discussion
Do you view gathered worship? Necessary to your soul? A duty? Irrelevant? What got you to that spot? Are you content with it? Any ideas on how to change?