“I don’t want to go to big church”, anyone who has tried to lead their kids into a Christian community has heard this. Most parents explain why attending a worship service is important along with a class. “In big church we learn to worship together with others”. “In big church you learn to listen to what God may say through a preacher”
The importance of big church in corporate worship has been the standard for Christians since the beginning. There may not have been a building but there was always a gathering. Gathering for preaching is one of the main ways we maintain unity. Paul said, (1Cor 1:10) Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. The power of sharing a common message and a shared experience should not be forgotten. Sadly I see this idea being forgotten not just by six year olds but by those who are responsible to be examples to them. The reasons are many but mostly it is forgetting the priority and power of “big church.”
Common reasons for neglecting “big church”.
- Health (yours or someone you care for) – Ask yourself as a rule does this health issue keep you from doing anything else for one hour a week? Does it stop you from sitting watching or listening to your favorite show? Does it keep from going to the store?
- Disunity – Often the underlying issue is resentment toward someone. Why would someone go to a gathering designed to promote unity when discord fills the heart?
- Too busy – Often we think other activities are so much more important. We have no time to gather for “big church”.
Think about what that says about the proud state of the heart. “I don’t really need this”.Yet long experience teaches “big church” is essential for our growth and the unity of any church. Everyone has exceptions but what happens when the exception becomes the rule and the rule the habit? The bible addresses this, Hebrew 10:24 and let us considers how to stimulate one another to love and to do good deeds. Hebrew 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
As your pastor I have sadly seen the results of corporate neglect. I see stalled growth in individuals and the life of the church. All this being said, I want to ask you to recommit to faithfulness to “big church”. Take time to honestly confront your underlying resistance and excuses and return to gathering and listening.
I really hope to see you Sunday.
Blessing to you,