What Gets You To Church on Sunday?
What Gets You To Church on Sunday?
For some of us who grew up in church—do you remember those Sunday mornings when your mom or dad tried to wake you up for church? Do you remember the kicking and screaming, trying to grab your blanket back out of your mom’s hands, yelling “I’m not going to church! I hate it! It’s so boring!”? And do you remember immediately following your brave assertion, there was the threat of losing TV or telephone time, or not getting to play outside with your friends? I definitely recall those days. Maybe for some of you parents, you get to relive this moment with your kids now.
For a number of people, the struggle to go to church as a child was a common experience. Attending “Sunday school” or youth group nights, were without a doubt, not at the top of the list. In fact, the only list it made was the “Top 10 Most Boring Things To Do.”
For many of us growing up in the church, church was boring. But we had to be there. We had to be there because of our parents. Going to church became one of our chores for the week. We had to be there, because if we didn’t, we knew we’d lose something we really liked to do. So we endured those Veggie Tale episodes. We tolerated the reenactments of Noah and the Ark on felt boards. We stomached youth group nights, so we could enjoy something better. (Btw, I’m really thankful for my parents’ determination to get me to church, because I did hear bits and pieces about God that I wouldn’t have, if I never went)
And so, the big question, we now adults, should ask ourselves is this—has there been a change since those days when we attended Sunday school and youth group? Are Sunday morning gatherings different for us now? Has it changed from a chore, to a time of strengthening? Has church progressed from something we just stomach, to something that gives inner refreshment?
Our bodies have physically matured from those youth group days. But because of sin in our flesh, there’s times when we regress and reenact those former days, and we’re being dragged to church all over again. And this time it’s not our parents, but our religious and ritualistic hearts.
This is why it’s important to continually assess your heart, to see if there’s some unhealthy reasons getting you to church on Sundays. Here’s just a few:
- Driven by routine. “I come to church, because it’s what I’ve always done.” Or “I’m a Christian and going to church on Sunday mornings is part of the job.”
- Driven by guilt. “I come to church, because if I don’t I’ll feel bad about it.”
Driven by acceptance. “I come because if I don’t, others might not think I’m a Christian or spiritual enough.”
- Driven by legalism. “I come on Sundays, because God will be pleased with me, and hopefully bless me with what I need for this week.”
- Driven by using others. “I come because if I don’t, I won’t get to share about my highs and lows of the week.” Or “I don’t have too many friends these days, so church gives me the social experience I need for the week.”
- Driven by achievements. “I come to hear a message that will inspire me to accomplish what I need to get done this week.”
- Driven by emotions. “I come to receive hope and meaning in life, because it makes me feel good about myself. The commands in the Bible are good, but it’s really about how Christianity uplifts my spirits.”
We come to church on Sundays for many reasons. But there’s a best reason to come. Pastor Matt spoke about this in the last sermon of our James series. The best reason to come to church on Sunday mornings is this: to go to the Spring. We, alongside other weary and thirsty believers come together to drink from God himself. The fountain of living water (Jeremiah 2:13).
This is always God’s invitation to you: “Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the water; and you without silver, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without silver and without cost!”(Isaiah 55:1).
Come and satisfying your dehydrated soul. Come to God our Father and Jesus the Son. Come because you need his presence and his word. Come to be stirred up by other believers, who are in painful situations like you, yet still finding hope in God. Come together to sing, and let the Holy Spirit do such an amazing work in your hearts, that those songs actually turn into praise. Jesus said “Only one thing is needed” and it is the best thing, to sit at his feet, and listen to what he has said” (Luke 10:39, 42).
This is what many of us didn’t understand or experience yet, when we reluctantly went to Sunday school and youth groups. But now we know, and we’ve tasted the sweetness of Christ and the gospel. And so, let’s pray that the Holy Spirit would open our ears to hear the Father’s invitation, and on Sunday mornings “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8).