One of the most important acts of love and encouragement we can all engage in is the powerful encouragement of just being there—because every time I walk into church, I am wearing a metaphorical t-shirt that says, “God is important to me, and you are important to me”. And on the back it says, “And that’s why I wouldn’t dream of missing this.”
Similarly, when we stay away for no good reason one week out of three (or more), we send the opposite message.
None of the important things God has for us to do in church each week can happen if we’re not there. We can’t love people; we can’t talk to them and encourage them; we can’t gather with them to listen together to God’s Word. All of this hangs on the rather simple prerequisite of actually being there.
And so perhaps the most important thing you can do before you walk into church is simply to plan to show up—every week—unless some emergency intervenes. Church needs to move into that category of non-negotiable fixtures around which we plan other things. (Pages 36-37)
Showing up to church of course is not all that is recommended, it is merely the starting point (the book’s purpose is to provide more guidance). But we can’t escape that faithful attendance is such an integral part to ministering to others and living as the body of Christ in obedience to Hebrews 10:24-25:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
When we show up to church, ask the following questions:
- How can I worship God as I participate in the service/activities?
- How can I stir others up toward love and good works?
- Who can I encourage today?
- Who needs encouragement throughout the week, and how can I encourage them?
- Is there an encouraging passage of Scripture that I can share with a few people today?
And if your church attendance is not what it should be, don’t be surprised if you lack desire passion for the Lord and get discouraged easily. You are not taking seriously the grace God provides through His Word, corporate prayer and worship, and fellowship. Make it your aim to repent and, for God’s sake, commit yourself to attending church regularly and seeking to encourage others.
If you don’t have a church, you might consider looking for one in one of these recommended directories:
- 9Marks Church Directory
- Heart Cry Mission Society Church Directory
- The Gospel Coalition Global Church Directory
- The Gospel Coalition’s Church Directory for Latin America (in Spanish)
* I chose the title to include “showing up” over “turning up” because it sounds more natural…for me at least. Hope I don’t offend any Aussies with this choice ;o). (For me, a ‘turn up’ is a plant!)