Wednesday, November 27, 2013

You Need to Stop Going to Church

A few years ago I saw on Facebook that a church planter I know up north had led his church in a day they called "Don't Go To Church" Sunday.  The idea behind it was not to go to a church building on that Sunday but to go be the church.  They went out into the large city their church resided in and gave out water and food.  They also shared living water and bread from heaven.  The concept of "not going to church" wasn't lost on me.  I've heard Bible teachers and preachers over the years make the same kind of comment with a different perspective than the church planter mentioned above.  But there is plenty of truth in the statement... you need to stop going to church.

You should stop going to church and start going to worship.  Now that sounds a little picky in the language used but it's the truth.  Too often believers see the hour between 11:00-12:00 on Sunday, or whatever hour the service may be, as their required church time to stay in God's good graces.  God doesn't want you to go to church, He wants you to join other believers and worship Him.  Our worship of God is all about Him and nothing about us.  It's not about what I like. It's not about what I hope to get out of the service.  It's about my heartfelt devotion to God being poured out as a sacrifice on the altar before a holy and righteous God who is worthy of my worship.  So Sunday, stop going to church and start going to worship.

You should stop going to church for the preacher and start going for the message.  It's a sad but true fact that when there is a change in church leadership some people stop attending church.  It's also sad but true that when the pastor is gone on vacation or preaching at another church that some people don't attend church.  It is impossible to separate our worship experience from the pastor God has placed in leadership over our church.  But when we find ourselves not attending church because the pastor is not there, we find ourselves falling into the trap of idolatry.  We are starting to worship the one who leads worship rather than the only One worthy of our worship.  Recently our church had missionaries share during the message time on a Sunday morning.  I advertised this with our congregation for a few weeks and was concerned that our attendance may drop because the pastor wasn't the one who would be preaching.  To my surprise we tied our highest attendance to date and had several who were out sick.  That is the mentality we have to have, that regardless of who is sharing the message we are coming to hear God's message.  So Sunday, stop going to church for the preacher and start going for the message.

You should stop going to church for the style of music and start going for the praise of God.  I've heard it said "I can't worship unless it's _____ kind of music" or "I can't worship God unless it's ______ type of a service."  To those who would say that I would tell you that "Worship is not about you or what you like, it's about God."  Yes, we should have our preferences in how we worship God and hear from Him.  But when we limit our worship because we limit our mode of worship then we limit God and how He can speak to us.  Music is only one small part of the worship experience.  Worship involves prayer, preaching, testimonies, giving and so much more.  If you are only attending a church because of the style of music, I encourage you to stop going to church for the style of music and start going for the praise of God.

My intentions with today's post is not to ruffle feathers.  My intentions are that we all really examine our motives for why we attend the church we attend.  What we as believers should do is find a local body of believers where our family is ministered to and the truth of the Bible is taught.  We should throw ourselves into the life of the church so we can truly worship God there.  That way regardless of who is behind the pulpit or the song being sung we are connected in spirit with God, pouring our heartfelt devotion out to Him.  So Sunday, you need to stop going to church!

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