When Stephanie and I got married, we spent our first night as newlyweds at the Telfair Inn in Augusta, GA. The next morning we got up and went to the nearest church we could find. I know that not everyone gets up the morning after their wedding and goes to church, but it’s what we wanted to do. Throughout the years we have made church attendance a top priority and it’s not just because I am a pastor. We even go to church when we are on vacation. And let me tell you, it has paid off. I have been blessed in a relational, emotional and, most importantly, eternal aspect.
Fast-forward twenty-seven years to May 14, 2017, five days before our twenty-seventh anniversary. We were back in Augusta at the same church we went to the day after we got married. It was only the second time I had ever been to this church.
The occasion was for the dedication of our first grandchild, Ella Nash Greene. Our oldest daughter and her husband (whom she met at church in Athens, GA where they attended college) were members of the church that we went to the day after we were married.
As I sat in that service, I felt a warm surge go through my heart. I can’t explain it. I just felt blessed. The first church we worshiped at after we were married is the same church that our first grandchild was dedicated.
Going to church is a blessing that I get to enjoy here on earth. Whether the worship service is traditional, blended, or contemporary doesn't matter. I am still blessed by it. Just so you won’t think I am too naive or too Pollyanna-ish, I want you to know that I have been on the receiving end of some pretty negative stuff at church. After all, I am a pastor. However, the positive far outweighs the negative.
I don’t look for the church to be a perfect place and neither should you. Just read your Bible. The church at Corinth had a guy sleeping with his stepmother, church members were taking one another to court, and some were even getting drunk at the Lord’s Supper. Of the seven churches Jesus addressed in the book of Revelation, He told five of them that they needed to repent.
If the church was not a perfect place just a few years after the resurrection of Jesus, how can we expect the church to be a perfect place 2,000 years later?
It is important to raise your children with an understanding that going to church should be a priority. Let them know that church people (even pastors) aren’t perfect, but the church is special to God. The church is the body of Christ here on Earth and the bride of Christ in Heaven.
So don’t make excuses for not going to church. Find a Bible-believing church you like and then get involved.
Hebrews 10:25 tells us that we should not “forsake the assembling of ourselves together.” In other words, don’t drop out. Make church a top priority not because it will never fail you, but because of its biblical meaning and our call to worship our Risen Savior as the body of Christ.