Yesterday was my first time to church in three weeks. That’s unusual for me, but the last three weeks have been a bit unusual.
I just returned Friday evening after almost three weeks with my oldest daughter and her family. The first Sunday I was there, she was having contractions. The second Sunday I was there, she had a brand new baby. Plus my four-year-old grandson still needed Nana’s love and care.
Although I remember this from my younger days, this Nana came home with a renewed appreciation of a young mom’s ongoing struggle to maintain a regular time with God. (See “8 Tips to Help Make Quiet Time a Reality.”) Something that really surprised me though was how much I missed – and needed – corporate worship with my church family.
It sort of snuck up on me yesterday morning. My husband and I slipped into the row of seats as the music started. My voice joined with those around me and I felt worship rise. The Spirit’s streams of living water slowly soaked into places in my soul I didn’t even know were dry (John 7:37-38).
Oh yes, I certainly can – and do – worship on my own. Just me and God. And while an individual’s relationship with God is a very personal and intimate thing, God designed our faith to also be corporate. He made individual believers to need other believers. Even worship is better together.
Our faith, our relationship with God can never be all God intends apart from a vital connection to a local church. Yesterday God reminded me that that includes worship. The worship of those around me fostered my own worship. Their awe of God pointed my heart to Him. Their surrender challenged me to give God my all.
Sadly, many Christians don’t understand the importance of that connection. They try to do faith on their own. Or they go to church only when it’s convenient.
The author of Hebrews knew the importance of individual Christians meeting regularly with the church body:
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not 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. Hebrews 10:24-25, NIV
Well, the Day of Jesus’ return is getting closer every day. Are you vitally connected to a local church or have you allowed the busyness of life, hurt feelings, or something else to get in the way?
If you aren’t connected to a local church what step will you take today? If you are a part of a church, what is one thing you can do to strengthen those ties?