Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How Much Church Is Enough?

How much church involvement does God really expect from Christians? It’s a relevant question for people who are busy with work and family commitments yet want to be faithful to their churches at the same time. After all, it can be tempting to skip small group Bible study, Sunday night services (if your church has them), and even the occasional Sunday morning. Thankfully, the Bible is not silent on this issue. It gives at least two principles to guide us.

First, don’t neglect to meet with other believers. Rather, encourage one another through the regular gatherings of your church (Hebrews 10:25). In contemporary parlance, this means not to neglect your church’s regular gatherings that are intended for all members. In most congregations, this includes worship services and a weekly time of small group Bible study—whether on Sunday mornings at the church or on a weeknight in someone’s home.

Of course, there will be occasions when members miss church gatherings for various reasons. And not every activity of the church is intended for every member. Still, the general rule holds: neglect of your church’s regular gatherings is disobedient to God. Your presence encourages others while your absences can drag them down. After all, don’t you feel less enthusiastic about your church when you make the effort to attend only to discover a sparse crowd because others decided it would be more convenient to stay home?
Second, use your spiritual gifts to serve the church. In Romans 12, Paul taught that a church is like a body and its members like organs. Each has a unique function, a spiritual gift God has bestowed for the good of the whole. Paul commanded us each to use our gifts in the church. So what has God gifted you to do? Teach Bible study? Visit shut-ins? Sing in a worship team? Repair the church building and grounds? Or something else? Whatever it is, God expects you to serve the church in addition to your regular attendance.

Admittedly, this may seem like a lot to ask. But God never requires anything that He doesn’t empower His children to accomplish. And just think of all the blessings church attendance brings: the enjoyment of God’s presence among His people (Matthew 18:20), the provision of spiritual nourishment and encouragement, and temporary shelter from the onslaughts of the world.

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