“Back-To-Church-Sunday” is just around the corner!

Many churches have official Sundays like this at the end of August or during the first or second weekend of September.  The rationale behind it is this:  People (even well-meaning, professing Christians) need to be gently reminded that it is time to make church life and their relationship with God a larger priority.  Why?  Well…… because your vacation is over.  It’s time to come back to reality and, for those who claim that Jesus is their Savior and Lord, that means returning to the consistent disciplines and structures that God has put in place to help us grow closer to Him and each other.  For our children, youth, and college students; this involves returning to school and grade-level ministry involvement.  For adults; this involves consistent church attendance and contributing (financially and in personal involvement) to church ministries.

At NBFMC, we will be having “Worship in the Park” and a church picnic this Sunday.  We hope to worship, fellowship, and enjoy God’s Creation together.  This will hopefully lead to restoring bonds that may have weakened over the Summer and the various trips people have taken.  This will hopefully lead to more effective, passionate, and unified ministry in the coming months.

This is the formula.  This is the plan.  This is “business as usual.”

And it saddens me beyond words.

Imagine being told that you can freely take a three-month vacation from loving your family?  Imagine being given license to ignore personal care and hygiene for three months?  Imagine willingly going without any of the goods, food, or entertainment that you enjoy for three months?  Hard to fathom, isn’t it?

Yet…. this casual attitude has seeped into our culture and has infected our relationship with Jesus and His Church.  So many professing followers of Jesus “check-out” of their faith for the Summer and then “check-in” again sometime in Autumn.  The joy of ministry and using our gifts and callings to serve the God who loves us has been painted as a burden that sensible people should take an extended break from in order to maintain their sanity.  Church community life (one of God’s most precious gifts to encourage and strengthen His people) has become a relationship of convenience and lacks the depth that it needs to be effective.

Please hear me (or read me, I guess):  I love it when people take a trip with loved ones and come back with stories to share.  I love it when they return renewed with energy to pour out into their family, work, and church. 

But the question that keeps floating in my mind is this:  Did you ask God if you SHOULD take a vacation/trip/excursion?  Most don’t.  I have the time.  I have the financial/physical ability to take a trip.  I want to take the trip.  I take the trip.  Case closed.  If I ask God if it is His Will that I should take it….and if He says it isn’t….then I may end up openly disobeying Him.  That’s uncomfortable for me and produces guilt.  If I don’t ask Him and move ahead with my plans, well….it’s like the saying goes:  “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”  That works well for children and teens  in relation to cookie jars, but it shouldn’t be the attitude of a sincere follower of Jesus Christ.

I say all of this to those who wear the name of Jesus as their Savior, not to those who do not call on Him as such.  It is Christians who bear the need for continuing discipleship and commitment to Christ and His Church.  My purpose isn’t to chide or scold or judge.  I only want to share the longing that I have for all believers in Christ to strive to follow Him more earnestly:  7 days/week and 365 days/year (366 for Leap Years).

This Fall, I pray that each of you come “back to church” and may you do so with the purpose of coming back……to stay.


Pastor Josh

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 5:26 PM  Leave a Comment  
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