Some believe the local church is dead and that her best days are behind her. The church is not dead; it is alive.
Her best days are now and ahead. I believe, as Bill Hybels says, "the local church is the hope of the world."
I grew up attending church. Many of my earliest memories are times spent at the Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago, with church people, or in church services. So when I meet people who aren't regular attendees, it's a surprise to find that sometimes they don't know exactly why you are.
Why go to church? What are the benefits of regular attendance? When you understand the "why" it makes it easier to understand the "when" and "where."
1. Because Scripture says so. Going to church 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.
2. You'll hear something that will prompt you to do something. More information does not lead to transformation. In Deep & Wide, Andy Stanley suggests "it's one thing to know a lot about weightlifting and another thing to actually lift weights.
It's one thing to know a lot about nutrition and another thing to eat healthy. Similarly, it's one thing to know a lot about the Bible and another thing to actually live out what it teaches.
That's why the Christian life isn't just about knowledge. It's when our acts of faith intersect with God's faithfulness that our faith grows. From Jesus' parable of the wise and foolish builders, we discover that hearing and learning are not enough. The value is in the application, because, in the end, it's obedience that makes all the difference."
3. Be the change you want to see. As the world searches for positive models to follow, you have the opportunity to be that model. When you go to church, others take notice. You are setting an example that other people notice. Examples inspire, so why not inspire others?
People want to do better, live better and be better. For the people around you, whether it's your friends or your co-workers, whether it's your family, when they see that you have a commitment that is leading you to living a better life—that is a positive example that other people can follow.
There you have it! Three solid reasons why you should get up, get dressed and go to church. Be a friend and bring a friend. Remember, our best days are not behind us; they are ahead of us. We'd love to have you be our special guest at Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago this Sunday at 8 AM or 10:30 AM.
For the original article, visit pastors.com.
The Rev. Clarence E. Stowers Jr. succeeded his father, Dr. Clarence Stowers Sr., as the pastor of the historic Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago in 1999. Mars Hill has experienced phenomenal ministry growth under his visionary pastoral leadership since then. Follow Rev. Stowers' blog, The Urban Pastor or check out Mars Hill's website.
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