As a kid, my parents would make me and my sister go to church because they enjoyed going. It would drive me nuts listening to my father sing, because as far as I was concerned, all the singing should have been left to the experienced vocalists in the choir, and all the listening should have been left to him and everyone else. Occasionally when my parents looked at me I would lip sync like Milli Vanilli, putting on enough of an act to satisfy my parents that I was engaged in what was happening around me.
The weekends that my dad ushered were the best. He ushered about once a month and we always went out for breakfast with all the other ushers before church. Thirty minutes before service we would head over to the church and talk about who was covering what. I liked to hand out programs because it was my excuse for talking to cute girls. Five minutes after the service started we had to get ready to receive the offering, making sure to be ready for the pastor to say the word for us to come forward and pass the plates. Most of the time it went smoothly, but occasionally I saw one or two of the girls I had handed a program to earlier, and wound up skipping a row or two so I could smile at them again. Apparently this messed up the flow and caused all kinds of problems, but it was worth it to me.
After collecting the offering we would put it all in one bucket and two of us would take it downstairs to the church office. Then my dad and his friends would linger around the kitchen area drinking coffee and eating another donut that always lasted the length of the message. When the pastor was done speaking, coffee break was over and we went back upstairs to hear him give the benediction. After service, our job was to walk up and down the aisles collecting trash and straightening chairs. It was a small price to pay for getting to skip the message. Looking back, I liked ushering because we went out for breakfast before church, I got to check out the chicks, eat donuts, and skip the message.
After becoming a Christian, I realized that my previous motives for serving and attending church were not exactly “godly”. In fact, they were quite self-centered. Since those pre-Christian days my heart has changed. So why do I go to church now? No, I don’t go just because I’m a pastor; I attend church because I want to.
Did you know that people who attend church on a regular basis have better marriages and better sex than those who do not attend church?
(I’m not kidding! - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140409103032.htm)
Church attenders also have more joy and more peace than those who don’t attend. I could go on and on about the peripheral benefits of attending church on a regular basis, but here are the top five reasons why I love attending church every week:
1. I get to worship with others.
There is something about worshipping with other believers that lights a fire in me. I still can’t sing, so yes, I still lip sync on occasion. But my heart is in it now.
2. I get to hear God’s word.
A good message is engaging and relevant. It helps me to understand God’s word and challenges me to live it out. Whenever I speak, I always try my best to be engaging, relevant, and challenging.
3. I am being accountable.
When I attend church I am being accountable to God and to others because I’m staying engaged. Regular attendance also helps me to continue to practice biblical tithing. I committed to being on the team when I joined the church, so every week I show up because I am a team player. I have come to appreciate the accountability that comes from attending church regularly.
4. I get to serve.
It’s been a long time since I served at church for the wrong reasons. Now I love to serve because I love helping people grow in their faith. It doesn’t matter if I am picking up garbage in the parking lot, painting a wall, or greeting people at the door. All these activities help make disciples, something Jesus commands His followers to do. Now I enjoy serving for the right reasons.
5. I feel connected.
If I miss a few weeks of church, I feel disconnected. Over the summer I take a short sabbatical and attend other churches while I am away, but nothing compares to being around my church family at Freshwater. I love connecting with my friends and future friends to share what is happening in my life and to ask them what is happening in theirs. I also enjoy the good coffee and donuts we have.
These are just a few of the many reasons why I love going to church. Could I just stay home and listen to messages online? Sure, but I would miss out on all the other blessings that come from being around other like-minded believers. If you have not made a commitment to attend church every week, consider it and you will find yourself even more blessed. There is nothing on the planet like the local church, and when it’s healthy like Freshwater, it produces life. I look forward to worshipping with you!