24 Apr SO, YOU WENT TO CHURCH ON EASTER (3 REASONS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER ATTENDING MORE THAN ONCE A YEAR)
We are now officially one week past Easter, the Sunday where EVERYBODY goes to church.
Easter Sunday is always fun for pastors. We preach to a packed house, everybody is in a good mood, and we often go big with creative elements in our services. Easter is our Super Bowl.
This year, at my church, it was no different.
We had fun.
We hit record attendance.
Everybody was happy and smiling.
The following weekend, though, things were back to normal for us. Most of the folks who came in droves the week before didn’t quite find their way back. Some did, but it was a noticeable drop from the week prior.
Don’t get me wrong, we still had a great Sunday! Yet, I couldn’t help but think about all those people from the week before.
Where’d they go? Why don’t they choose to be here more than once or twice a year?
Then it dawned on me, maybe we’re just not presenting compelling enough reasons for our un-churched friends to return.
With that in mind, here are three reasons you should consider attending every week if you don’t already.
God loves you
I know, you’ve heard that your entire life.
God loving you has never been the problem. As a matter of fact, I’d be lying if I said His affection for you waned based on your attendance record. It doesn’t. He loves you no matter what.
God created us to love us.
At one point, God speaks through the prophet Jeremiah saying, “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.”
In Romans we are told that nothing, “death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”
God’s love for us is big and vast, far reaching and persistent. God loves us when we don’t want it, but pursues us nonetheless, like a hopeless romantic who can’t seem to take a hint.
God loves us when we hate Him.
He loves us when we push Him away.
He loves us when we mock Him and when we represent Him poorly.
God loves us when we don’t feel capable of being loved and when we don’t feel as though we can offer love in return.
He loves us when we disobey Him, when we ignore Him, and when we run from Him.
God loves us when we try to hurt Him and when we hurt others.
Consider this for a moment as well… every good thing in your life is from God.
James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above.”
It’s all a gift from God. All the good things you have, God gave those to you.
If God is willing to love you with that kind of love, ask yourself for a moment… am I really too busy to set aside some time each week to thank him for his gifts, his love?
I know all the excuses.
We’re just so busy.
It’s my only day to sleep in.
The kids have soccer.
One of the reasons I attend church each week is to say thank you.
The reason I sing the songs, give financially, and try to take something from the sermon every Sunday (even when I’m the one delivering it) is to say “God, thank you for loving a jacked-up, self-obsessed, mess of a person like me.”
Being committed every week is a small way for me to show God that He has value is my life.
I’m an introvert.
I am recharged by going to movies by myself late at night and by going on long runs with my headphones in. I need those moments where it’s just me at Starbucks with my laptop.
At the same time, I’ve come to recognize that, introverted or not, I need relationships.
I need to have conversations with people that stir my imagination and challenge me. I need people to laugh with. I need people to lean on when everything seems overwhelming or stressful or tear-jerking.
Life is too hard to do alone.
It’s too heavy.
It’s also filled with joy that needs to be shared.
Meaningful relationships are one of the great joys of life, much like vintage mix-tapes and newborn size Chuck Taylor All-Stars.
I want to have friends to make memories with. I desire for people to know me. Really, truly, know me.
In the book of Acts (the story of the first Christians) the people embraced community with such intentionality that if a friend was in need they would sell a piece of land or some other material item and bless that friend with the proceeds.
They understood what it meant to live in community.
As I get older I’m recognizing how reliant I am on friends for parenting advise, similar life experience, and encouragement.
It’s no surprise that the world around us is changing and evolving at an unprecedented rate.
There was a time when culture would shift by the century, then by the decade, but now, thanks in large part to technology and social media, culture is shifting year-to-year – or even quicker.
One bi-product of that shift is that individuals no longer feel church or faith require a place in their lives (hence, this blog).
It has been widely recognized that the millennial generation has left the church in droves.
What many are neglecting to notice is the generation after the millennials… my kids’ generation.
Sociologists are learning that my children’s peers will be the first generation in American history that will grow-up entirely post-christian.
They will have no concept of church.
No understanding of Jesus.
They will have never attended Sunday school, learned of God’s love, or heard of Jesus’ conquering the grave for them.
Stories like David and Goliath, Jonah and the Whale, and Jesus walking on water will never enter their little minds.
As a person who values gathering weekly with my church family, I am grateful that my kids are being raised in a village where people I love are speaking timeless truths into their lives.
I want my kids to grow up knowing a God who loves them.
I pray that my children can know His love personally and intimately.
I believe the local church plays a role in helping parents grow children in the knowledge of God’s love.
The Church is different because the church has hope
If you’ve read this far, you might be thinking “I’m still not convinced”.
If God loves me no matter what, why do I need church? I can have meaningful relationships at the gym or with my Friday poker friends. I can teach bible stories to my kids without having to check them in to Sunday school.
Ok, one last thing then. And it might be the most important thing…
Being part of a local church is an opportunity to experience hope.
I’m part of a gym. I have friends at the gym. In many ways, my gym does function like a family.
The biggest difference? My gym’s purpose is to help people be healthy. It does not offer hope. Like many CrossFit gyms, the one I am a part is full of meaningful relationships… minus the hope.
The Church is a place where you encounter hope.
It’s a place of healing.
It’s a place where you find what defines you.
… You are not the divorced person.
… You are not the addict.
… You are not guy with the disability.
In the church we’re all on level ground, as children of God, imperfections and all, experiencing the hope that comes through the grace God provides.
I believe the church is a place for everybody because everybody needs hope.
So stop on by sometime. Come and find a little hope.
We’ll save a seat for you.