by Rev. Peter Friedrichs
It’s a new year! How about making just one new resolution: to come to church every Sunday. What a radical notion! Now, maybe that’s going a little too far for you, so what if your resolution was to make attending church on Sundays a priority in the lives of you and your family?
I’ve wondered why people come to church on Sundays, and I’ve concluded that it’s for a variety of reasons. Some come to church because they want their children exposed to the values that we teach in our Chapel and Religious Education program. Parents kind of “tag along” with the kids and either help out in RE or join them in Chapel, then head to the Sanctuary to hear the sermon.
Others come to church to be with like-minded people. Sunday morning is a social time, a time to catch up with friends and acquaintances, to check in on how everyone’s week has been. Conversation before the service and coffee afterward are, in many ways, more important than the actual service itself.
Some folks come to church to offer their gifts to the congregation. Some like to sing in the chorus or provide other worship music, some serve as worship associates and pastoral caregivers, while others offer the gift of hospitality by serving as greeters, ushers and coffee servers. Without these folks, Sunday morning simply wouldn’t happen!
Then there are the people who come to church to nurture their spirits (and these can include those who come for other reasons as well — these reasons are not mutually exclusive). They come to be inspired, to be challenged, to receive spiritual sustenance and support. They come because Sunday morning at church is the only time and place where they can get some help processing important events and integrating their reactions to those events into their lives.
Now, among this last category, there are those who come based on how they’re feeling and there are others who come based on the topic and speaker on a particular Sunday. These latter folks weigh whether the topic is something they might find stimulating, whether the speaker is someone they think will make the topic interesting or a combination of both. I’m not speculating about these latter folks, either. I’ve had people tell me that they “decided not to come last week because the topic didn’t interest me.”
So, where do you fit within these profiles? Why do you come to church on Sunday morning? What is it that you’re seeking? Our Sunday worship service is a hub around which our church life revolves. The monthly spiritual themes (should I tell you what January’s theme is, or would you not come for a month if you didn’t like it? <wink>) apply not only to worship in the Sanctuary, but Children’s Chapel and Small Group Ministry topics as well.
What if you made a commitment to yourself to come to a service every Sunday for the month of January, regardless of what the kids are doing, regardless of the sermon topic, regardless of the musician, regardless of the speaker? Might you discover hidden gems and unanticipated treasure? Might your life be enriched by seeing folks you might have missed? Might you be surprised to find that somehow, by some inexplicable process, regardless of the topic or the speaker, your spirit is nurtured and the week that follows is made better in some way? I’d like to think so.
And, who knows, maybe after a month of regular attendance, you’ll join the ranks of those folks who show up every Sunday because they don’t want to find out that they missed something wonderful and powerful when they were gone.
See you on Sundays!
From January 2015 Focus
(Photo by Dennis Leeper)