Growing New Believers into Missionaries to Our Community
Worshiping God
Loving People
Learning the Bible

14. Church Attendance

Becoming part of a local church is an important step in my Christian walk.

Conditions of church attendance

Attending a church will not take the place of being born again, but since I have accepted Christ as my savior, I am ready to commit to a local church.

Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be save.”

Acts 16:31 “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

Acts 2:47 “…And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

Why should I attend church?

The word “church” in the Greek New Testament means “assembly” or group of believers meeting together. (Acts 4:31)

· To worship God. He deserves my praise in every way I can give it- alone and with other believers.

· The disciples set the pattern. Acts 2:42 “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
· Strength comes from unity. I need a church to serve in; and, other believers need my testimony for Christ.

· I cannot be a well-rounded, healthy Christian outside of the church. We keep each other balanced.

· I need the fellowship of God’s people and the united prayers of fellow believers.

· Christ’s command of Matthew 28:19, 20 applies as much to me today as to those of His time.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Attending church prepares and strengthens me to do this.

· The church provides opportunity for me to witness and serve.

1 Corinthians 3:9 “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.”
· God commanded submission to the leadership in a church. I can’t fulfill that command unless I actually belong to a church.

· I have more mature Christians to teach me about God.

· I belong.

When should I become active in a local church?

As soon as I’m born again into God’s family.

1 Corinthians 12:27 “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”

The entire church is compared to a body of which Christ is the true head and the believers are members (limbs, etc). As a member of the body of Christ, I want to function and find my place of service.

Colossians 1:18 “And He is the head of the body, the church.”

Matthew 16:16 “…Peter said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’”

If this also is my true confession of Christ, then I should identify with my fellow believers in a local church.

What are my responsibilities to my church?

· My love and faithfulness. Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

· Maintain regular attendance; be dependable.

· Give to support its programs (churches have mortgages, electric bills, gas bills, etc. just like businesses and households do.)

· Keeping its teachings.

· Testifying: 2 Timothy 1:8 “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;”
· Witnessing. Luke 8:39 “Return to thine own house, and tell how great things God hath done unto thee …”
· Serving. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 “…Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;”

· Loving the brethren John 13:35 “By this shall all men know that yea are my disciples, if ye have love for one another.”
Can I claim to love God but not wish to be bound to one church any more than I can love someone but refuse to marry because of the responsibilities?

Can I claim to be a good Christian and not serve in my local church any more than I can be a good citizen of my country and enjoy its privileges but refuse to pay taxes, vote, or fight for my freedoms?

Can I claim to love my brothers, especially those in leadership, and not be there to support them and allow them to teach me?

James 3:1 “My brethren, be not many masters (teachers, preachers, pastors,) knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”

Hebrews 13:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

The leaders in a church will be held accountable for my salvation and strength in God. I won’t make their job impossible by not actually being there for the spiritual meal they prepare for me every week.

Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood …”

How often should I go to church?

Hebrews 13:17 God is a spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

Different groups at different times and places throughout the church age have required their people to attend services on different schedules. Sometimes meetings were held once a month. Sometimes several times a week. Today, some Amish groups meet every other week. Some fundamentalist churches meet four times a week.

God put specific men in charge of my church to watch out for my soul. Those men pray and decide what schedule best fit the needs of me and the other members of my congregation.

In the American culture this usually means a worship service on Sunday morning and a Bible study later in the week. The worship service allows me to give God glory with my brothers and sisters in the Lord and to gain from preaching and fellowship. The Bible study allows a time for me to be taught more intensely and to ask questions, getting more personal direction for my life. Both are necessary.

I also need a time each week for service to the Body of Christ. My church may have special programs or groups to facilitate this, or they may have ideas to help me find my personal calling. I need to ask.

Suggestions for meaningful worship

John 4:24 “God is a spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

I will...

· Bow my head for silent prayer prior to service.

· Pray for my minister, for those serving, and for each other and for myself on a regular basis.

· Pray that God’s Word will find lodging in the hearts and lives of the congregation and community.

· Sing the hymns. Meditate on the song message as I worship.

· Use my Bible. Turn to the scriptures used. Underline the portions expounded and made meaningful in the sermon.

· Take notes on the sermon and apply the teaching to my daily life.

· Avoid talking, laughing and whispering during the service. (except where appropriate; it’s ok to laugh if the preacher tells a joke.)

· After the service, fellowship with those in attendance.

My attitude towards God’s house

I should...

· Respect and love it.

· Defend the church against scoffers and unbelievers.

· Be mindful of the church appearance and atmosphere. I will do what I can to improve and maintain it. Someone needs to scrub the toilets, vacuum the floor, and pull the weeds. Why not me?

· Contribute to the upkeep of God’s house in both time and money.

· Cooperate.

The church is not just a building. The church is an assembled body of believers. We are the temple of the living God.

1 Corinthians 3:16, 17 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
My absence...

· Aids the devil in overcoming souls.

· Weakens my spiritual life.

· Makes a poor witness to others.

· Causes Christianity to be questioned.

· Makes me vulnerable to the world.

· Makes the minister’s job more difficult. It is hard to prepare a meal when you never know how many will be there to eat. It is discouraging to prepare a twelve-course meal and have no one show up. Yet it is the minister's responsibility to make sure I learn the things I need to. This is impossible to do if I am not there.

· Weakens the fellowship.

· Discourages the brothers.

When I am not there, my chair screams “Empty.”

The Importance Of Choosing The Right Church

I need to choose a church that is Bible centered; I know that what is taught at the church I attend helps to shape my new life in Christ. The type of Christian I will be in a few years will depend greatly on the church that I attend regularly. A few of the ways in which the church helps to shape my life:

· My church determines what I am taught or not taught about the Bible.

· My church provides avenues of spiritual growth and fellowship.

· My church is the launching pad for my service for God.

· My church encourages me to do soul winning.

· My church trains me in Christian living.

· My church furnishes me with prayer warriors- people who will stand with me during times of sickness, death, and adversity.

· My church gives me a missionary vision.

· My church influences what my children will believe about spiritual matters.

· My church influences my depth of spiritual maturity. It can cause me to be a shallow, ineffective Christian; or, it can help me become a deeply spiritual Christian.

I will choose my church carefully.

If necessary, it is better to travel a little distance to attend a Bible centered church than to go to a church that is doctrinally unsound close by.

If I am careful about selecting the clothes I wear, the food I eat and the place in which I live, I should be even more careful about the church I attend.

The church in which I accepted Christ would more than likely be a good place for me to attend as there would be a special interest in me as a new convert. However, God often moves people to a new church after a few years to teach them more about Him.

Above all, pray about this most serious decision.