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Why Attend Church?
by Pastor David Martin
Perhaps you have heard a statement to the effect of, “I don’t need to go to church.  I am fine just listening to my favorite preacher on TV and reading Christian e-mail forwards.  Church is nice for some people, but I really don’t need to attend on a regular basis, and the church doesn’t need me.”

I have heard this frequently, from people from all ages and walks of life.  Is the church really just an optional club that is as easy to join or drop as a Costco membership?  Or, was the church created by God to be a family that is meant to change both the people within it and the world around it?  Fortunately, we are not left to guess the answer to this very important question.  God Himself has a lot to say about how He created you and I, and what the mission is that He has entrusted to us here on earth.

The answer all starts with how we are made. As human beings, we were created to in God’s image.  God is a God of relationships.  He has designed us to live in relationships as well, both with Him and with each other.  This is hard to do unless we are in community.  We cannot minister to the people on the other side of the TV screen, but we can encourage and support our neighbor who sits next to us in the pew. 

In our world today people are so often separated from one another by their differences in race, socio-economic class, and other personal preferences.  At church, we are invited to interact with people who are different from us.  Not only do we interact with them, but we are called by God to show the fruit of the Spirit as we rub shoulders with them!  This is not for the faint of heart, and will grow our character like nothing else will!

There are so many issues these days that divide us. Here in Eugene, the question is “are you a Duck or a Beaver fan?”  While this affects who we cheer for on game day, there are larger issues that divide us, including race, social status, and who we voted for as president.

Jesus came to earth to break down the walls of division that came between us and God, as well as between us and our fellow human beings.  The Church is the new community of people that Jesus started.  This spiritual family is made up of His disciples; all those who place their faith and trust in Jesus, no matter what other differences they may have.  This is a breath of fresh air to all of us who are weary of all the divisions in our world!

Whether we are aware of it or not, each one of us has been given unique gifts that are to be used to build up our fellow believers within the Body of Christ.  Some people can teach, some have the gift of music, or the gift of helping behind the scenes with whatever needs to be done.  We receive great personal fulfillment when we exercise our gifts because they were given with the intent that we use them to serve others!  We can only use them when we are in relationship with the Body of Christ.  When we remove ourselves and our gifts from the Church, both we and the other people in our spiritual family suffer.

As a follower of Jesus, I love to gather with other people on Sunday mornings to worship God.  We worship in a variety of ways.  One way is through singing songs that express our hearts, as well as declaring who God is and what He has done.  A second way is through Bible teaching that is understandable and applicable.  It is my desire that as a spiritual family, we will fall more in love with Jesus and demonstrate that love by the way we serve one another.  Jesus made genuine community possible.  Now we seek to live that out in our Church family.

~ Pastor David