There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope that belongs to your call-one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. –Ephesians 4:4-7
There is a well-documented trend of decline in Sunday morning church attendance in America. Many theories have been floated as to why this is happening. There is truth in many of these theories such as generational shifts, changing values in the culture, greater wealth and mobility, moral failings of church leaders, and technology that makes sermons available anytime and anywhere. Even though these are real factors, I do not think any of these as the defining reason why people are choosing to commit to other things besides gathering to worship on Sunday mornings.
Love for God and a love for His people is the only lasting motivator for a lifelong commitment to the local church. Our understanding of worship as love of God is many times poor and fickle, and so we need constant reminders of what it means to be loved by God so that we can learn to love others.
So why is regularly participating in a worship gathering and the life of the local church worth committing to?
- Because of God’s glory. God himself is the ultimate treasure; His greatness is beyond human fathoming. He is worthy of our lives and praise because of his incredible love, grace, and kindness in adopting us and sacrificing His own blood for our redemption and blessing. This alone drives us to devote our time, singing, and energy to Him.
- Because of God’s grace. Grace is more than just salvation from sins, it is God’s love and favor for us in this life. Ephesians reveals to us that God’s grace leads us to a relationship with Jesus and with His body the church. The life of grace is a life with the church that belongs to Jesus.
- Because of God’s gift. The church is a gift. Ephesians makes it very clear that the gift of the church is a blessing to lead us to maturity in love. Being part of the church is part of the transforming work of the new life we have in Jesus.
- Because of God’s wisdom. Wisdom is making the right decisions, at the right time, according to God’s will and for His glory. How we live this life is important. It is a commitment to regular gathering with the church in the Word of God that we learn God's will and wisdom for living in His Spirit.
- Because it is for our own benefit. We were made for community. When we are part of the church, we experience the blessing of God’s grace, gift, and wisdom in the community. This affects all the important relationship in our life. Our marriage, children, parents, and employment relationships. We reap the benefits of all that God offers us in these relationships.