Church online is awesome.
But so many are saying, “It’s just not the same as being there.”
And while others would say, “What do you mean come back to church? I never left; I’m online.“
Others are owning that they are beginning to drift.
Here’s our message. The doors of the church are re-opening, and we welcome you.
When you are ready.
Some have personal concerns that we need to honor along with their sense of timing for when they’re ready to return to church in larger gatherings.
Church online is here to stay, and I’m glad about that!
Especially when it’s a group of believers gathered together.
Also, it serves so many so well from those who must travel for a living, to those who are sick and can’t attend.
However, I have also appreciated the honesty of several who have shared their church experience with me during these past few months.
While many have worshipped and have been fully engaged through the entire online service, others are also answering emails, eating pancakes, and tending to their kids who need a response.
No matter what, in every conversation, I cheer them on and let them know I’m glad they are online! However, I also want them to experience the fullest that God might have for them.
Hey, I think the Holy Spirit approves of pancakes during church online.😀 We can’t take ourselves too seriously, but we ought to take God very seriously.
My concern as a shepherd of God’s people is that church has become an option for a very busy culture.
The local church is one of only two institutions God ordained for His people. (The other is marriage.)
We can certainly change how we do church, but it’s important to continue to see the true value in God’s idea of the Church.
Church attendance is not about getting a gold star or gaining God’s approval. But there are important things God built into the bigger picture of our design that benefit us through larger gatherings specifically for worship, fellowship, and the proclamation of His Word.
5 Good Reasons To Come Back To Church:
1) Drift is imminent without connection.
People are designed to be in community. Family is the core or foundation of community, but there’s greater breadth and depth when your faith community is enlarged.
As a pastor for decades now, I have seen a clear pattern and correlation between Christians who are in community and Christians who attempt to “go it on their own.”
Drift from God is often the result of some measure of spiritual isolation.
It’s true that no one is required to attend church to be a Christian, but in nearly every story, Christians with the more vibrant walk with Jesus regularly attend a worship service.
It’s not about sin; it takes nothing more than the busyness and pressures of everyday life to allow your walk with God to become a part of your life rather than the center of your life.
Drift from God will happen without intentional effort, and the church is the primary leader, encourager, and teacher for the intentionality of growing your faith.
Any focused effort that helps a believer seek God helps correct drift.
2) Our worldview helps shape how we live our lives.
A worldview is the set of values and beliefs about the fundamental aspects of reality that ground and influence our perception, thoughts, knowledge, and actions.
Let me offer the obvious, whether or not a person believes in God, creation, and Jesus as the redeemer completely and absolutely changes how they see the world and live their life in comparison to someone who does not believe in or follow God.
You might challenge and say, “Well, I can read that in a book.” Yes, that’s true, but you can’t learn how to live it out in cultural context on your own. (Which takes us back to community.)
Life isn’t mechanical, it’s fluid and nuanced, and it requires intentional conversation to help interpret how to live out the worldview amidst the complexities of life in a changing culture.
For example, let’s look at the idea of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is easy to understand but extremely complicated to actually live out when someone has been deeply hurt or wronged.
The church is arguably the best place to learn how to practice some of these most complex life lessons within a specifically Christian worldview.
This impacts the overall direction your life takes, the decisions you make, and the outcomes you experience.
3) Living a vibrant spiritual life often requires coaching.
From my earliest days as a new Christian to now as a seasoned leader, I have always had coaches to help me understand, navigate, and live a God-honoring life.
Even with coaching, I have lived far from perfect. I just can’t imagine if I attempted to figure it all out on my own. That doesn’t mean I don’t think for myself; it means others show me the way to become and live out my best self, according to God’s plan.
Coaching experiences come in a wide variety of possibilities.
- It might be a volunteer leader who has a cup of coffee with you to help you think through a difficult decision.
- It might be a pastor who gives you insight into a difficult family situation.
- Or perhaps a spiritual leader who helps you develop your leadership skills.
Like a university education helps prepare a student for a meaningful career, the church helps prepare you to live your life to the fullest in Christ. (John 10:10)
4) The church is a light in your community.
God has given you gifts and opportunities to serve others.
You can do this without the church, but the majority of believers are more likely to get involved when the church leads the way and organizes the opportunities.
When the church organizes the opportunities to serve the community, it multiplies your efforts for a much greater impact.
Here’s a recent example.
A number of people at 12Stone Church wanted to make a difference during this season of COVID-19 by making PPE (personal protective equipment) for health care professionals.
They could do that on their own.
But when the church organized it, purchased materials, and offered a place to make it happen, tens of thousands of PPE sets were made rather than only a handful.
Here’s the bottom line, the church is designed to be salt and light in the community, and the greater the number of Christ-followers who serve, the more significant the impact.
5) Healthy habits bring stability.
A healthy life consists of healthy patterns and rhythms based on biblical principles.
We all understand the impact of good and healthy habits.
If I eat healthy foods once a week but the other six days I each junk food, the results will not be good. It’s the same with exercise. I can work out once a quarter with the greatest of intentions, but you know how much good that will do.
Consistent patterns and habits bring a sense of strength and stability that create a healthy foundation to live by.
A consistent connection with a body of believers is likely the most important habit you can form for a deepening and meaningful spiritual life.
No church is perfect, but any church can help you make progress if you look for the good and determine to develop healthy spiritual habits in your life.