Our family is a part of a local church that meets every Sunday morning in a building that seems to shrink each year as more and more college students, retirees, newlyweds, and babies (so many babies!) join us. Our church family has become such an integral part of our lives, and participating in the church service on Sunday mornings is a regular date on our calendar.
I’m grateful for our church. I thought I’d share 5 things that I love…
- Scripture fills every turn in the service. As we follow a more liturgical service, every single move – from our opening worship song to the closing benediction – is preceded by scripture. Our prayers are full of scripture, our songs are full of scripture, and our sermons are full of scripture.
Coming from a world of messages that are time-wasting at best and evil at worst, these two hours of messages that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and excellent is so deeply refreshing.
- We confess our sins together. Every week, we are given the time to privately confess our sins to God and to know the goodness of restoration. We also sing many songs that contain words of confession. I am continually amazed that we’re all in the same sinful boat and that we share this need!When I confess my sin, I know how wicked my heart is, I know how deeply I need forgiveness. But then I look around and see other people confessing their sin as honestly as I am mine, and I am amazed. Their thoughts are as wicked as mine? Their struggles are as dark as mine? Their choices as foolish? Their motives as selfish?I find comfort in our common bond as sinners who need a savior, and I want to worship God all the more for His generous offer of complete forgiveness.
- We sing to God together. Songwriter Keith Getty often teaches that the worship leader’s job is to “help God’s people sing”. At our church, everyone sings together: loudly and strong with voices lifted up to the Lord. It’s a faint shadow of heaven. And on this earth, the faintest shadow of heaven is the most glorious human experience.
- We meet together Sunday, after Sunday, after Sunday and we don’t ever stop. (Ah, this is such a comfort to me.) Some Sundays, I feel awkward and slow, anti-social and distracted. Other Sundays, I am “all there”: taking notes, praying intentionally, singing with all my heart, and encouraging others.The teachers, preachers, and nursery workers must feel similarly. We are only human. But the regularity of our meeting is a God-given source of strength so that the poor, fragile weeks will blend with the strong, fruitful weeks and in a year’s time – in a life’s time – we will all grow and we will all give significantly to our church family.Week upon week, we will bring ourselves – tired or peppy, weak or strong – to worship God together.
- We see the body of Christ at work. Some may think that annual church meetings are boring, but I think they are fascinating. As we move through the agenda and each committee updates the congregation on their work and their plans, I praise God for the variety of gifts and interests that He has given to our little local church.People are happily thriving in volunteer positions that I could never ever do.Like the super smart financial committee? Wow. The nursery works? Unbelievable. The SOUND TEAM? I wouldn’t know how to begin! The administrators? Amazing. God has given our church people who like to maintain the building, others who like to teach Sunday School, and still others who make meals for those who are sick or suffering.
This always encourages me to offer my own energy and time. When a local church thrives like this – with so many people offering their skills and service – it is a miracle… a miracle happens day after day, week after week.
19 Therefore, brothers,[c] since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – from Hebrews 10
What do you love about your local church?