When I was growing up, having dinner together was a high priority for my family. All six of us. My parents sat at the ends of the table and all the kids sat in the middle. Boys on one side and girls on the other. This was such a great time for us to connect, share stories, and build memories. Not every dinner was heavenly, and as we grew up, some of the kids couldn’t be around as often. But it was still a meaningful part of our family rhythm.
I consider our weekly corporate worship gatherings in a similar way. You don’t have to come to church every week to be a part of the church anymore than you need to eat dinner with the family to be a part of the family. Further, neighbors can come over for dinner, but that doesn’t make them family. And just like a teenager could eat a meal without their family, so you can “get fed” without coming to church. I fully understand that people have access to far better options for “meals” than what our church can provide.
But there’s just something about momma’s cooking, isn’t there? How many family dinners can you miss before you start feeling disconnected? And what about the rest of the family? What do they miss out on by not having you around?
The corporate worship gathering of a local church doesn’t exist for people to have a way to check off a box on some sort of religious to-do list. It’s not just to “feed you,” either. It’s about belonging to a family. It allows us to share moments together that become “inside” stories that help us know that we belong. Do you remember the April blizzard in 2018? Or how about the Sunday a squirrel ran around the church basement?
One of my favorite Sunday memories was when we held our last service at the French Immersion School. When that service was over and we were able to haul all of our gear into our new church building – right across the street – I felt like I was watching a modern exodus. Everybody grabbed something to haul. Kids, grandparents, and everyone in between. Do you remember?
It’s about belonging to a family.
We’ve shared so many meaningful moments as a church family. Baptisms, child dedications, commissioning leaders – as well as many gospel goodbyes. How much joy do we get to share when a young couple brings their baby to church for the first time? Or when newly weds return from their honeymoon and come to worship with the family? Do you remember?
When we come together as a church family, we have an opportunity to worship God, connect with each other, and care for people. Every Sunday, God brings new people through our doors. One of my greatest joys as a pastor is when I am not even able to introduce myself to our visitors because our people are already caring for them.
I understand that you’re not going to be able to be at church every week. But I’m telling you, you’re not going to want to miss this! And not just the service, though that matters. You’re not going to want to miss out on the process, the pattern, the family rhythm. There are memories to made, joy to be encountered, and worship to be experienced.
Will you join us for dinner this week?