Recently, I was blessed to be able to attend WTBN‘s Pastor Appreciation Luncheon with my Sr. Minister and Youth Minister from First Christian Church of Seminole. I was double blessed to hear the keynote speaker, Dr. R. C. Sproul. This was my first time hearing Dr. Sproul in person and I was not disappointed.
One of the things that caught my attention early on in Dr. Sproul’s message was his conversation with Bill Hybels 35 years ago, before Willow Creek Church in Northwest-suburban Chicago was started. Dr. Sproul recalled Bill telling about how they took a survey among locals who admitted to being unchurched. When asked why, people responded: (1) they didn’t like being bugged for money; (2) they found church boring, predictable, and routine; (3) they didn’t think that the church was relevant to their lives; and (4) they always left church feeling guilty (the Christian message too negative with ‘sin,’ etc.).”
Dr. Sproul recounted how his response to Mr. Hybels was, “make sure people are overwhelmed by the presence of God. Otherwise, everything is a huge waste of time.”
That’s why I love about my local church, First Christian Church of Seminole. There is definitely something uncommon and special from the moment you walk in. People are friendly and caring – it’s more of a family atmosphere. It’s certainly not boring or predictable. You never know what to expect! And, Andy’s messages are always relevant and engaging, but with a positive message that inspires and challenges rather than beats down.
My spirit concurred as Dr. Sproul went on to explain that what we do on Sunday mornings is not supposed to simply entertain people, but to usher them into the presence of God Himself. And, this is something that only God Himself can accomplish. How God uses the hearts of those on the platform, including the musicians and the ministers, to touch people with a message of hope and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is nothing short of miraculous. But, without this supernatural transformation, without God’s prompting and filling and drawing others to Himself, church would be boring and irrelevant.
I am reminded of a familiar passage in Hebrews chapter 10: “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23-25 NLT).
I pray you have a similar church family where you can belong and be engaged. I encourage you to be thankful for what God has given you as a fellowship of believers. I encourage you to cherish and support your time spent at your local church as precious and holy-ground. Look for opportunities to serve and to invite others to join us as we meet and grow in our faith together. Life can quickly get busy with irrelevant activities, but meeting together as followers of Christ is most certainly not irrelevant. Time is short. Christ’s return is soon.