A few weeks ago, on September 21st, I became a father for the second time. My wife and I welcomed our long awaited little girl into our family. While it has only been 18 months since our first child, our son, was born: there are just some things my wife and I haven’t done in a while. My wife had not nursed a child in about 5 months, I had not diapered a newborn in over a year, and neither of us have had to sleep in 30 minutes stints since at least last summer. However, all that has changed. With the arrival of our daughter, we are having to start over in numerous ways.
The great part about being a parent is that once you’ve gone through all the challenges of caring for a newborn, you are naturally better prepared to work from the beginning again. While differences in temperament or natural circumstances will change some approaches, the basics are still the same. So while being a father to an infant isn’t easy, it’s not as difficult after you care for your first child.
As a Pastor, I think attending regular church gatherings should be the same way. For those who claim to be Christians but struggle to commit to regular church fellowship, allow me to offer the encouragement that returning to regular attendance is not as hard as it seems. Just find a church and start by attending one service consistently. You may find that the way things are done may have changed a bit, but you already know what to expect.
Let me then ask those who claim to be believers yet are not regular church attendees, what’s keeping you away?
Are you afraid to admit to how far you may have fallen away? All you will find is that you will need to approach God that same way you did when you first called upon Him for salvation. Admit that you are a sinner and seek His help daily to live how He has asked.
Are you avoiding churches because they are filled with hypocrites? Take a moment to be honest with yourself. You may still claim to be a Christian, but you struggle to love those who have failed to meet Christ’s standard. In this very way, you are failing to meet Christ’s call for forgiveness as well.
Are you worried you won’t be able to keep up with all the “rules and expectations?” True salvation is not completing a prescribed list of responsibilities. We are simply called to surrender to Christ as our Lord, and live as He lived. Since you have already once committed to let Christ live in you, He will work to shape you to His will just as He did before!
Obviously this post is written to challenge those who call themselves Christians; particularly those with no regular practice of corporate worship. I’m sure you have your reasons for why you do not attend corporate worship services, but maybe it won’t be that hard to find a way to return to regular fellowship with God’s people. I hope you will find a church family that will make your next effort to join a fellowship as easy as possible. While you may have serious issues to address, may all God’s people work with you through these struggles in an honest and loving manner.
Written by Timothy Hegerich
There is truth in our world, and it lies within the word of the One who created the world. It is my prayer that my thoughts and writings echo this truth and inspire you to seek it for your life today!