Here at Eastman First Baptist we’ve issued a challenge to our congregation to do three things every week that will take their spiritual lives and the ministry of our church to a different level. Every member is being challenged to commit to participating in at least one worship service every week; attending a small group every week and serving in some ministry every week. Today I want to focus on the first of those three by looking at the importance of attending a worship service every week.
Why is making worship attendance a priority so important for your spiritual growth? Simply put, I believe that faithful, disciplined regular attendance in corporate worship is one of the simplest steps of obedience that any believer can take and viewed properly it is probably one of the surest safeguards against drifting away from the path of discipleship.
Billy Hanks has said that, “The essential definition of a disciple is one who has become a disciplined follower, a disciplined learner of our Lord.” The key to this definition is the word, “disciplined.” We tend to think of discipline in its corrective sense, but formative discipline is actually a powerful tool for godliness (1 Timothy 4:7-8). Those who drift off the path of discipleship rarely do so in one giant leap; it is usually through a succession of small steps of disobedience. As Geiger, Kelley and Nation write in their book, Transformational Discipleship,
‘Drifting and disobedience go hand in hand. Getting out of view of their parents, children are more likely to play by their own rules. All of the previous ‘don’t draw on the wall’ instructions simply vanish from the child’s mind…Drifting brings about a tolerance for distance…if we keep allowing ourselves to drift, we go farther and farther each time. With thoughts like, I’ve always made it back, and I can still see where I need to get back to, we tolerate the distance from God. (Transformational Discipleship, 116.)
Now, to be sure, one can be legalistic about church attendance but this is not what we are advocating. The spiritual discipline of worship attendance demonstrates that we understand the importance the body of Christ plays in keeping us focused on Him and lovingly calling us back to our Lord before we drift away. When we get away from the church it gets easier to play by our own rules and fool ourselves into thinking we are not being affected by the world around us.
Consequently, it is God’s intention to use you to strengthen your brothers and sisters in Christ and to help them along the disciples path, so for the good of the church and your own spiritual good make worship attendance a priority in 2019. Prayerfully seek God in worship and be amazed at what a year of disciplined commitment can do for you!