I spent almost 12 of the last 18 months “going” to church.
This was a new thing for me.
You see for many years I have been a part of a church where I was in community and serving in and outside the church with that community on a regular basis.
But, for almost an entire year, my family and I spent Sunday mornings just “going to church” in a congregation where we knew almost no one.
The church itself was great….strong biblical teaching with clear applications, theologically on-point music sung by worship leaders who truly seemed to worship with us and a congregation who was living out their faith in a multitude of ways.
During this year of just “going to church,” we continued to lead our 10 year old community group/bible study with our “people” in our home each week. Although we continued to grow with them, we did not worship with them on Sunday morning.
And, we did not dig in and find community in this new-to-us church. We tried here and there to connect but nothing “stuck.” So, we continued to warm a pew seat each week and scoot out when the service ended.
Many years ago, I learned that the church is not the building. It is the people of God. We are a people called out of darkness and into his marvelous light. We are called to use our gifts to serve one another and we are also called to share God’s goodness with a lost and dying world. I firmly believe that, as followers of Christ, we don’t just go to church – we are the church….on Sunday mornings and all week long.
What I didn’t realize wholly until this year of just “going to church” on Sunday morning is what a beautiful and glorious gift it is to fully belong and worship with a people that I know deeply and love fiercely.
We are back now, worshipping, serving and growing with “our people” on Sunday morning. They are family and I have come to appreciate what a beautiful treasure it is to worship corporately with a people with people I love and whose stories I know.
My encouragement to you is this….If you are just “showing up” for church and “sneaking out” without engaging, I want you to know that you are missing out on some of the most beautiful gifts God has for you in His church…
The gift of knowing and being known by those with whom you worship….
The gift of looking about in corporate worship and rejoicing or mourning with those around you because you know the triumph or the tragedy they are walking in…
The opportunity to be involved with the Sunday morning work of church and the deepening and widening of relationships as you serve with God’s people….
The gift of being inspired personally by the perseverance of those who have been called by God to hard things….
If this is not your corporate worship experience, I urge you to do more than just show up. I urge you to jump in and experience all that God has for you as you gather corporately with His people each week.
Kim Melnick loves Jesus, His people and His word. She’s passionate about learning and sharing with others as she learns and grows. Her prayer journals are an overflow of her experiences in Scripture, prayer and study and her aim is that you would grow closer to the Lord as you use them.