The concept of gathering has taken many new forms over the last few weeks as many of us around the world seek a way forward for our churches. This new reality has made me wonder: Why do you go to your church? Why do you keep going back to the same group of people in the same building? I have asked these questions for years in membership classes or leadership trainings, and I am always interested in the answers. Some common answers are: My family attends here. My friends are here. I like how I feel when I am here. I love the worship music. I love the pastor. It is my weekly connection with God. I love my small group and couldn’t make it without them.
I have rarely heard the words from Hebrew uttered when I ask these questions. In fact, I have never had someone tell me, “I go to this church simply to encourage others.” I am sure that there are some who make it their mission each week to be a catalyst for love and good deeds, but if we are not careful, we can decide to go to church for what we can get out of the gathering instead of what we can offer to the gathering.
I believe that Hebrews 10:24-25 is asking us to consider another way.
What if Christians around the world decided that the purpose of gathering together was to encourage each other to live each day for Christ? What if, when we gathered, we understood that true worship of God is connected to a love for our brothers and sisters? What if the connection to others is enhanced through authentic worship of God?
What if this coming Sunday, we consider the true purpose of Church: worship? In a world that is focused on the self, what if the church became a gathering that was focused on God and others? There is no question that love and good deeds would abound.
As you think of each other this week, make it your mission to truly fellowship. Move past thinking of our basic needs and, in earnest prayer, thank God for His goodness and pray for the needs of others. As Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
Prayer for the week: Father, remind me that as I worship You this week, I have a responsibility to encourage others. Teach me what it means to have deep fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ and may my life encourage someone else to live for you!
Wendell Brown is the district superintendent of the North Central Ohio District, Church of the Nazarene.
The Holiness Today staff is currently participating with Christians around the world in limiting to our normal corporate worship participation due to the coronavirus. We are joyfully awaiting the resuming of normal worship schedules once the crisis has passed.
Written for Coffee Break.