Come … attend … gather … assemble … don’t miss … show up. These and other words and phrases have been attached to church for many years. You’re supposed to be at church. For a number of years, Kim and I would pass by a large property located on the right side of I-65 on our way north to see family. A beautiful lake, meadows, woods, and a large sign could be seen there. The sign read: “Go to Church or the Devil will get you.”
I don’t know how many backsliding travelers mended their ways because of that stern caution, but many of us have had guilt or fear or threat used on us from time to time. Go to church!
I don’t remember any conversations at our house regarding a choice in the matter when we were growing up. Most of you know the routine if you were raised going to church – Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, visitation, committee meetings, socials, revivals … the list was long. Church was at the center of community life in many towns. Was.
They tell us we now live in a post-Christian world. Many people have dismissed the church. It is no longer relevant or important to their lives, if it ever was. Churches are closing their doors at an accelerated pace. Most churches have plateaued or declined. Church attendance is down. Financial resources are dwindling. Times are tough and the church doesn’t seem to have the answers.
You don’t have to look far to see the problems and the challenges. We certainly have plenty here at Wieuca. Yes, I want people to come to church. The Bible tells us plainly: “And let us not neglect our meeting together” (Hebrews 10:25). Yes, I believe that the assembly of believers can and should have a powerful testimony to the community.
But even more we should be the church. It has to be a combination of doing and being if we are to follow the mandate of Scripture. This Sunday we begin a new series: “What the Bible says …” – our first topic is what the Bible says about the Church. Come, because this is your church. Come, because this is His Church. Then go, be the presence of Christ where it is needed most.