I was shocked to learn that post pandemic, American churches are reporting on average a 36% return rate for worship gatherings.
That is not a good report, but I am awed and grateful for you are exceeding the national average. (Our Christ Church return is about double that average)! Though if you asked me this time last year about a 30% drop in worship attendance, I would certainly not feel thrilled for any decline. Yes, I believe faith can develop by viewing online worship and listening to television ministries! The Word is God’s primary catalyst for growing strong faith.
But the Word tells us our faith is incomplete in isolation. My greatest concern about lingering effects post-pandemic is focused on our mission to the lost. Faith also requires spiritual disciplines and practices for growing strong. Worship, study, training, and serving are essential.
The New Testament reminds us that faith is fully developed in the “one another’s.” There are 94 “one another’s” commanded in the Bible. Many of them intersect. The list of “one another’s” includes mandates like: “love, serve, bear with, forgive, pray for, honor, encourage, build up and stimulate to love and good deeds… one another.”
One big “one another” is found in Hebrews 10:25, “…not FORSAKING THE ASSEMBLING OF OURSELVES TOGETHER, as is the manner of some, but EXHORTING one another, and SO MUCH THE MORE as you see the DAY approaching.” I looked up the word “exhorting” in the dictionary and this is what I found… exhort – to incite by argument or advice: urge strongly: to give warnings or advice: make urgent appeals.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have got to EXHORT our members to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. This is a command of the Bible. Even though covid has disrupted our gatherings we must not forsake our assembly together. How can the BODY OF CHRIST be the body when it is not together? How can we function properly or grow stronger in mission without one another? The greatest catalyst for strong faith does not happen in isolation. Faith develops best as we assemble with one another.
This Sunday at 9 AM we invite the church to gather for worship in the Sanctuary or in the North parking area (89.5 FM #Lot4praise)! We will sing, pray together, read God’s Word from Luke 24 and I am excited to share a message, “At the Intersection of Shock and Awe!”
In Christ. Pastor Larry