I love Young Life summer camp, it is the best! One of the things they tell campers the first night of club is “HEY Y’ALL, GOOD NEWS!! AT YL CAMP THERE ARE NO RULES!!!
And the kids erupt in loud applause.
But before the applause and laughter subside, the camp speaker says, with a wink in his or her eye, “But we DO have several STRONG suggestions!”
There is so much happening at Church of the Holy Spirit that excites me. I see so many of y’all serving the Lord and your neighbors passionately with a happy heart. I love your desire to impact Roanoke with the Gospel. We have seen people’s stewardship and giving improve and move toward New Testament generosity. The vestry is expanding their role as intercessors, and recently we have seen several people healed. The list could go on and on. Thank you, Lord.
Similar to the letters to the Seven Churches in Revelation 2-3, there is one area where many are choosing to be disobedient. As your shepherd it truly hurts my heart.
Can you guess what it is?
Half of our church members skip Sunday worship each week. We know many visit family out of town and we enthusiastically support this, but we are seeing an increase of people skipping corporate worship because they want to sleep in, have leisure or “family time.” Respectfully, all these things can happen on Saturday or on Sunday afternoon.
Erratic attendance is a symptom and not the root problem. It may sound harsh but biblically, the root problem is idolatry; and what is idolatry but having a greater love for things we desire (leisure, personal comfort, sports and fun) than for the Lord and what he desires? This subtle idolatry blinds many to the importance and biblical pattern of corporate worship found in the scriptures. Such self-determination robs us of the opportunity to give the glory due to the only One worthy of worship. The Lord calls us to join Him in pursuits with eternal impact. When we lift our eyes off ourselves and focus on Christ, we gain HIS perspective on whatever challenges us. When we engage in the life of the body of Christ, we strengthen others and receive comfort, edification and encouragement.
Acts 2:46 – “Every day they continued to MEET TOGETHER in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Hebrews 10:25: – “Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we should NOT do that. We should keep on encouraging each other . . .”
The bottom line is that Jesus is clear in His word about the necessity and value of regular corporate worship. Jesus set a pattern of regular participation in corporate worship. Luke 4:16 says “As was His custom, Jesus went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day . . .”
So, if it is no longer your custom to prioritize Sunday corporate worship, let the shepherds who must give account to God for your soul lovingly remind you:
· This disobedience grieves the Lord’s heart
· The Lord wants better for you
· Your absence from the Body spiritually weakens your brothers and sisters
· The pattern of skipping corporate worship has spiritual consequences
· Statistics indicate that if a Christian is irregular in corporate worship, their children will believe that corporate worship is not important and they will be, at best, sporadic attenders when they grow up. The grandchildren likely will come on Christmas and Easter if at all.
You can do nothing better for your children and family then to train them in this gift of grace
I love you all, +Quigg