‘Back to Church Sunday’ strong reminder of church value
The response to the recent “Back to Church Sunday” held two weeks ago is still being evaluated, but the concept is solid. For the past five years, at least, “Back to Church Sunday” has given church members an opportunity to reach out to those who have dropped out or who have never given church a try.
Lifeway Research found in a study conducted several years ago 67 percent of those not attending church would respond favorably to an invitation from a family member, and 63 percent would attend if a friend or neighbor invited them. People are willing to go if only church folks would invite them.
The challenge is to get people there so they can hear the Good News, experience the camaraderie, and develop a new habit that will enrich their lives.
The church is important. Jesus founded the church, and He died for the church. Paul, the New Testament writer, referred to the church as the bride of Christ. If we’re committed to Jesus, then we must be committed to His bride. We should love what Jesus loves, and Jesus loves His church.
We need to first belong to Jesus, and then we should experience the joy of belonging to His church. We need church because we need each other. God designed us to be relational creatures. We need a personal relationship with Jesus, and we need to build relationships with one another.
Paul also referred to church as God’s family (Ephesians 2:19b). We are members of God’s family. Every person should belong and commit to a church family. Why?
First, I need you to walk with me. Colossians 2:6 reads, “Just as you receive Christ, so walk in Him.” Our walk refers to our spiritual life. Walking suggests movement and forward progress. We need believers to help us move forward spiritually, to give encouragement and support.
Second, I need you to be honest with me. Don’t have a critical spirit, but do hold me accountable. Care about me enough to let me know when I need to take a hard look at something.
Have you ever eaten lunch and then gone through your afternoon, talking to numerous people, and then look in the mirror and discover you had something green between your teeth? You think, “Why didn’t somebody tell me?” Sometimes we need someone who cares to tell us to look in the mirror and correct a bad attitude, or remove some resentment.
Third, I need you to work beside me. The Bible is clear: we are not saved to be spectators, but to work and serve. Anytime you use the talents and gifts God has given you to help other people because you love the Lord and you desire to serve Him, that is ministry. Ephesians 2:10 reads, “God created us to do good works for Him.”
Fourth, I need you to watch out for me. Philippians 2:4 reads, “Look out for one another’s interests, not just your own.” We need people who will protect us, and warn us when we’re getting off track. This takes being honest a step further. Watching out relates to keeping us on the right path.
Fifth, I need you to weep with me. While describing the church, Paul wrote in I Corinthians 12:26, “If one member suffers, all members suffer.” When life’s crises hit, I need people who will be there for me. You don’t have to say anything, just have a ministry of being there.
Sixth, I need you to pray for me. James 5:16 reads, “Pray for one another.” Do you pray for your church family by name? Do you pray for your ministers every day? Prayer is the key that unlocks the wisdom and power of God.
Seventh, I need you to help me see the big picture. Too often we’re short-sighted and see only today. Or we get wrapped up in this life and forget that no matter how many years we live on this earth, it’s only a drop in the bucket compared to eternity. We need to develop an eternal perspective that helps us remember that this life is not all there is. The fact that we’re going to spend eternity in heaven should shape how we approach life on this earth today.
Church folks aren’t perfect, but they love Jesus and they’ll love you. Why not give church a try this Sunday?
[Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. The church is located at 352 McDonough Road. Visit them on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org.]