Getting your neighbor there EVERY Sunday
By Pastor Chap Gary
So Easter is a big event in the church world. Traditionally, people who don’t usually attend church will go with families and friends before gathering together for an Easter dinner, crawfish boil, fish fry, Easter Egg hunt, and other South Louisiana activities. Underlying it all though is the question, “Well they’re here today, now how can I get them to come back when it’s not Easter?” In order to answer that question, the reason people go to church to begin with must be considered.
Church has become somewhat of a stigma to many. So many people out there want to talk about God, but don’t want anything to do with church. So, what is the solution to this? Is church becoming obsolete in a day and age when people are able to get what they feel they need of God through so many other resources besides a traditional church?
The answer does not have to do with church in and of itself, but with the innate hunger for and pursuit of God that everyone has deep within, as described in Romans ch.1. When church is seen as a place where people go once a week in order to fulfill a cultural expectation, or it is where people go for 1 or 2 hours a week to act more pious than they usually do, people seem to be able to do without. However, if church were to offer something more…
What is God’s intention for church? What does the church that God initiated look like in the Bible? Once we consider the contextual circumstances that made the early church unique, what is left that we should be focusing on in order to be the church that God intended?
Take a moment and read Acts 2:42-47.
Doctrine was continually taught and received; they ate together, this being sharing communion and having meals together; they prayed together; many signs and wonders were done in their midst; and they sold all of their possessions and had all things in common. The result of these things was that they were “…having favor with all the people,” and “…the Lord added to the church daily.”
This is word for word what the Bible says. While we don’t have time to break down the meaning of all of these things, let’s put it simply. It is not our job to get people to church. It is our job to labor diligently to teach proper doctrine. It is our responsibility to prioritize spending time with other believers. It is our responsibility to care for one another’s needs, physical and otherwise. It is our job to press in to the Lord through prayer, drawing close to His heart and being His hands and feet on the earth. If we focus on these things, rather than on trying to build better programs and advertising, then the rest is up to the Lord. “…And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47)
People have an innate desire to belong, to have a sense of purpose and serve something or someone greater than themselves, and whether or not they admit or realize it, to encounter God. It is in fostering an environment where this can happen that the church will recapture her identity, purpose, and fulfill all that God has ordained her to be.