I find it helpful to check my own motives from time to time.
I say that because I like people to come to church. And I have more than a few friends from Good Shepherd whom I will text, cajole, and encourage to attend service as the weekend approaches. In fact, if you think I’m referring to you, I probably am.
But just why do I want people attend? Is it because preaching to a full church is a lot more fun than preaching to one that’s half full?
Yes, that’s part of it.
But as I explored my motivations and even named those that aren’t so pure, I realized there’s more to it.
Here are a few reasons why I’m passionate about people carving out time to worship …
It says to family, friends, the world: “You’re not setting the agenda for my life and my calendar. God is.”
It reminds you that while there may be an old old story how a Savior come from glory … but that old story still shapes and molds the trajectory of your life whether you know it or not.
It says to YOU: “You’re part of something bigger than yourself.”
It’s an opportunity to gather with a bunch of other flawed, broken people who in general have the courage to acknowledge just how flawed and broken they are.
It helps develop a common language with a collection of people. At Good Shepherd, for example, you will overhear people using phrases like “living relationship” and “it’s not a book, it’s a library” all the time.
It connects you to sages and saints from ages past. And in a world that mistakenly believes newer is better and younger is smarter, that anchor in history is vitally important.
It engages your mind as you gain insights into Scripture that would not have occurred to you reading it alone.
It speaks to your heart as you realize during worship that many songwriters have the same longings and desires as you … they just have the gift of articulating it well.
It puts your body, mind, and soul in alignment with God’s design for a weekly rhythm: work, rest, worship. Work, rest, worship.
So yeah, I like a full church.
But it’s even better if the people who fill it are themselves full of the Spirit.