January 23, 2017
Why I Think Church Attendance Is So Important.
I still have yet to officially define my blogging goals for 2017 (I really need to get on that, as the first month of the year is almost halfway done!), but I know that one of them will be to get back to some of my "core content." When I first started this blog as a freshman in college, I wanted it to be a place for faith and fashion to come together. While the fashion side of my blog has really started to flourish, the faith posts have gotten to be less and less each year. I'm hoping to bring back at the very minimum, one faith/Christianity related post a month in 2017! I hope that y'all will hold me accountable to that to. I don't claim by any means to be an "expert" on faith, or to live a "perfect" Christian lifestyle. But what I can say for certain is that the foundation of my faith is what has kept me grounded, hopeful, and confident in Christ since my middle school years, when I first accepted Jesus as my savior. And for something to be such a big part of my life, I think it deserves a little bit more of a place on my blog. :-)
I will also say that this post has taken me a really long time to put together! Normally writing on my blog comes to easily to me... but I've been drafting and editing this post since the beginning of January. Anything faith related can definitely be tougher topics to write about.
Today's topic is something that I actually guest posted about on a different blog a few years ago, but I'm not sure that I've ever shared my thoughts on here at Southern Belle in Training. But it's a faith related issue that has really been a personal conviction in my own life, during my college years and in 2016 especially. It's the topic of church attendance.
What is the purpose of church, and why is attendance so important? First and foremost, it's not my views that really matter on this subject... but what comes from God's Word itself! Let's look a few verses together:
*Ephesians 2:19: Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens of God's people and also members of His household (NIV)
Once someone becomes a Christian, they enter into fellowship not only with the Lord, but also with other believers. As this verse says, once you have Christ in your heart, you aren't a "stranger" anymore, but a "citizen" in God's household! God's representation of his household on earth is His church. A household doesn't function properly if each member lives their own separate life- a household is built on the foundation of community. The church should be the same way with believers.
*Colossians 3:16: Let the message of Christ dwell among you as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. (NIV)
God's word commands His followers to praise him through music, reading His word, and of course prayer. And this is all supposed to be done together, with encouragement and fellowship!
So the concept of church is something that is clearly biblically rooted. The body of Christ finds its strength in numbers, and church is often the best place to begin that!
To avoid this post from getting too long and too much about me, I'm going to save my personal background on church (churches I've attended past and present, and my own faith journey through church) for a separate blog post about my testimony, which I've already started working on. But instead, I'll just share a few reasons in addition to those verses why I think church attendance is so important:
*God will speak through the messages and worship at church: It can be extremely hard to hear the voice of God. I've only heard His voice distinctly commanding me to do something a couple of times in my life. With all of the business and distractions of our everyday lives, He is often the first thing that we tune out. By coming to church each week, and dedicating an hour or two out of our time just to praise God and focus on Him, you will be amazed by how He can speak to you. Sometimes it's through the sermon... the topic might be exactly what your heart needed to hear. Or sometimes you might have a very personal God moment during the worship music, or a time of silent prayer. But coming into a place of worship amongst other believers and dedicating that time to Him- so important!
*For the community aspect: As the verses above reiterated, God loves when His people come together to worship Him. Part of a relationship with God is the individual relationship, but another large component is sharing that relationship with us. Spending time with other like-minded believers helps you to stay on track morally and spiritually, can provide immense encouragement, and also can help you to grow in your knowledge of faith. Plus- who says that a church community can't be fun every once in awhile?! (If your church isn't providing these things- it might be time to find a new church home. Not every church is the right fit for everyone... that's the beauty of having different denominations and types of churches!)
*Personal enrichment: This kind of relates back to the first point about hearing God's voice, but I always feel like I get something out of a church service. Certainly there are some weeks where I relate more to the worship and others where I get more out of the sermon itself, but there's always something about going that either makes me feel better about a situation that I'm going through, I learn something new about God or the bible that I didn't before, or I leave with a feeling of just plain joy and gratitude! And who can ever complain about that? In the culture that we live in today, it can be so easy to let negative influences or people into our lives, and let these things drift us further and further away from Jesus. Attending regular church services is a great way to stay grounded and remind yourself of your principles.
These are my reasons behind wanting to attend church. God doesn't love you any more or any less depending on how often you're in church... but those who love Him should want to have that special time each week to worship and learn more about Him. I have not always been great at church attendance- in 2016 it was definitely getting more sporadic for me. Again I'll talk more about that in another faith-related blog post... but for this year, I decided to make church attendance an absolute priority in my life again, and already I'm so happy that I did!
And for those wondering, I attend one of the campuses of Forest Hill Church, a large non-denominational church here in Charlotte. I have been going there since my sophomore year of college.
Do share with me your thoughts on this post! I just ask that you're respectful in your comments. :-) I hope that you enjoyed this faith-based post- I really do look forward to more faith posts to come this year!