Come to Church Early!
You may have recently noticed a series of social media posts that have been sent out encouraging church attendance. If you haven’t seen them, please look at our Facebook page or Instagram page. Maybe you have asked why? These posts have been intentional because of a concern we as the elders are having about the low attendance over the last couple of months, as well as the trend of many late comers to our worship service.
In this post I would like to encourage you to make our worship gatherings a priority and to help you see how beneficial they are to your own soul, and how important your attendance is in encouraging other believers in their faith.
Church attendance is not just a “good suggestion”; it is God’s will for believers. Hebrews 10:25 says we should “not [be] giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Even in the early church, some were falling into the bad habit of not meeting with other believers. The author of Hebrews says that’s not the way to go. We need the encouragement that church attendance affords. And the approach of the end times should prompt us to be even more devoted to going to church.
Coming to church on time will go a long way to help us prioritise our church attendance. Do you arrive at church with the expectation of experiencing community and in anticipation of worshiping God? Is church something you’re trying to squeeze into a busy schedule? Or is church merely an obligation to fulfil? The time you arrive at church will be a good indicator to help you answer these questions.
Here are three 3 reasons why it is important to get to church early.
- To meet new people
For the last few weeks during our Family Bible Hour (which starts at 9am), we have had a few visitors who I’d never seen before. Unfortunately, there were very few regular churchgoers at church at that point (apart from the music team), and so there was no one there talking to them. What a missed opportunity.
Let’s face it – new people are usually the ones who get to church early. And if you get to church even five minutes before the service starts, you can welcome them before the first song even begins.
Our churches need to be welcoming new people, whether they’re Christians visiting from another church, Christians who might be looking at coming to the church, or people who are yet to know Christ just coming along to see what it’s all about. It’s good to meet new people after the service as well. But welcoming them – and having a good conversation with them – before the service even begins is going to make them feel so much more at home. It could be the difference that makes them want to come back next week!
- To encourage the encouragers
I could be a bit biased here, but I think it’s true – getting to church early shows those serving at the service that you appreciate what they do. If you’re there when the service begins, and sing heartily along to the music, listen when the bible is read and listen to announcements, you are showing that you appreciate the work, effort, practice and study, those on the stage are putting in to encourage the church.
Contrast this with regularly turning up fifteen or even twenty minutes into the service. Looking around at the start of a service and seeing many empty seats at the start of the service, I get the message that you don’t think what goes on at the start of the service is that important. You don’t value the way the music team has rehearsed and are using their efforts to lead the congregation in praise to God. And you don’t value the work that the leaders and the bible readers and the person praying have put into helping the congregation grow in and be encouraged in their faith. You just come to church to hear the sermon!
Of course, the people serving up the front shouldn’t be doing it to impress people – they should be doing it for God. But as fellow brothers and sisters, we should be encouraging them as they encourage us, and appreciate what they do.
- Because it shows and sets your priorities
Regularly turning up to church late might not seem that big a deal for you. But I think if we’re really honest, it’s just a symptom of the real problem – we don’t see church as important as it should be.
What is it that makes us late for church?
- Maybe we were asleep and just wanted a few more minutes in bed.
- Maybe we were halfway through a movie and wanted to finish it off.
- Maybe we were hanging out with friends and didn’t want the conversations to end.
- Maybe we wanted to stop off at Starbucks on the way to church, or…
- Maybe we were finishing off an assignment that we really should have done earlier.
See, when we do this regularly, we’re putting sleep, entertainment, friends, food and schoolwork before church.
For a church body to function properly, all of its “body parts” need to be present and working (1 Corinthians 12:14–20). It’s not enough to just attend a church; we should be involved in some type of ministry to others, using the spiritual gifts God has given us (Ephesians 4:11–13). A believer will never reach full spiritual maturity without having that outlet for his gifts, and we all need the assistance and encouragement of other believers (1 Corinthians 12:21–26).
Jesus is the Cornerstone of the Church (1 Peter 2:6), and we are “like living stones . . . being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). As the building materials of God’s “spiritual house,” we naturally have a connection with one another, and that connection is evident every time the Church “goes to church.”
Please for the sake of your brother and sisters’ soul, and for your own edification, make your church attendance a priority, and to add to that, come early, for God’s glory and for the joy of His people!