I’m sitting on an airplane this morning as I travel for business. I’ve been flying for years and over the last few, I couldn’t count how many times I’ve flown. As we all sit here, the flight attendant is giving safety instructions should anything bad happen. I’ve always noticed how few people pay attention. Maybe because it’s a canned speech. Maybe because it’s something they’ve heard before. Maybe because they don’t care.
It’s got me to thinking how many of us go to church and do the same thing. Many of us have been going to church for years. As we sit in the pews, the preacher gives spiritual safety instructions. Like the people on the plane, we sit there, eyes glazed over and we rarely pay attention. Maybe because they aren’t a dynamic speaker. Maybe because you’ve heard this before. Maybe because you don’t care.
A pastor is a shepherd. Their job is to protect the flock that has been given to them. They preach, not because they have to, but because the safety of your soul compels them to. They are called to watch over you and give you what you need for spiritual protection and to show you the path to Heaven. Yet many of us sit there and play on our phones, talk to our neighbor or sleep. I say, “us” because I’m guilty too. I look at my watch and wonder how long it is until noon too.
Are we going to church because “it’s the right thing to do”? Are we going to be seen by others? Are we going to church because we want our kids to know this stuff? Or are we going so that we can adopt the culture of the kingdom? I realize that the building itself, while we call it “church” is not the church. You and I are the church. The Bible says that we should not forsake the assembling of the brethren. That means we should not treat being with other believers lightly.
Whether you go to a Mega church like Lakewood, a home church in someone’s home or anywhere in between, we are to go and get as much out of it as we can. It’s not the preacher’s job to feed you. When you go, expect to learn something. Expect to gain wisdom. Expect to build relationships with other believers. Expect God to move in your life. Expect to leave different than when you showed up. God’s desire is to meet with us daily, but most of us only give him a couple of hours on a Sunday. Even then, we aren’t giving Him much because we’d rather be doing something else.
What I tell people every day is that you will get out of this meeting what you put into it. The same is true for going to church. Are you there to participate or are you there to observe? Participate in worship. Participate in the sermon by taking notes and writing down your own thoughts of how what’s being said applies directly to your life. Don’t just go to church to go. Go to receive and to participate. Go to meet God and be prepared to be met by Him.