“I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord.” –Psalm 133:1
Let me start off by saying that I know that church is not a place, but a people; and we don’t go to church, we are the church. That is more than just semantics; it is fundamental to all that we are at The Church at Shelby Crossings. It is a biblical mindset that determines how we see church, and how we “do” church week to week, outside the walls of our building.
Still, in our culture, so many people automatically assume that “church” is the place we go, or the service we attend on Sunday mornings. Whatever we call it, I hope we can all agree with the psalmist that we are glad for every opportunity we have to gather with God’s people in the (ware)house of the Lord. And especially after the shutdowns from the pandemic and all that we have experienced over the past year and a half, we appreciate that opportunity more than ever.
The truth is, however, many are not so glad. They attend more out of obligation, or religious duty, or guilt management than because they love to celebrate God’s grace in their lives or hear His truth proclaimed. I would suggest that how we “go” determines a great deal how glad we are when we get there. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions this week on how to “go to church.”
First, we should go to church “prayed-up.” No, that doesn’t mean that you always have to be spiritually ready to come before the Lord–He still meets us right where we are when we come to Him. However, our spiritual preparation for corporate worship before Sunday morning will have much to do with how the Lord reveals Himself to us during our time together. Pray throughout the week, and on Sunday morning, that the Lord will be at work in your life and in our church. Then come expecting Him to move. He will.
It is also very helpful if you go to church on-time–or even, a little early! This has several benefits. For one, it gives you a chance to meet and greet other folks you’re going to be worshiping with–especially guests you haven’t met. It also causes less distraction to others when you can get seated before the service starts. You also won’t miss vital parts of the service which are planned to lead you into worship in the presence of God. And finally, you’ll be less stressed and more focused on connecting with God when you’re not coming in late.
And finally, it’s always better when you go to church… with a friend! As we seek to reach our community with the gospel, we want to provide a place where our friends and neighbors can come and check out authentic Christianity in a loving environment of real people. It’s so much more exciting to go to worship with a friend you’ve invited, prayerfully expecting God’s work in his or her life. What a wonderful way to come to the Lord, like the disciple Andrew, bringing someone with you.
So, let the church “go to church” this Sunday–on time, expecting God to move, with a Bible in one hand and a friend on the other. It’s going to be a great day!