I've had the opportunity to worship at a couple of different churches over the past few months. Once while out in the Boston area, once a couple of weeks ago as I attended the church that I friend of mine Pastors, and once this past weekend where I served as the guest speaker. It is always a joy to see followers of Jesus Christ meeting together to worship Him. Each congregation had a very different personality and each one had a distinct style. Nevertheless, without fail whenever I visit another church, I leave thinking about how much I missed my own local church family at The Orchard. I miss people who care about me asking me about my week. I miss the smile from someone that I know has been struggling terribly, but that lets me know, "in Christ's strength, I'm getting there."
One of the saddest things that I can think of is a person who claims to follow Jesus, that is disconnected from His body. The Christian life cannot be lived in isolation. Connection with, identification with, participation in the local church simply are not optional extras for a believer.
Some people may think to themselves that it is hardly surprising that a Pastor would talk about this sort of stuff because "he just wants his attendance numbers to look good." Am I concerned about a persons' attendance at church, you bet I am! But, it's not because of the numbers, it is because when a person allows other things to routinely infringe on their time of corporate worship, I can pretty much guarantee that they also routinely allow other things to take precedent over their walk with Christ as a whole. What's more, it is because when we fail to connect regularly with God's people, we miss out on opportunities to use the gifts that He has entrusted to us. When we fail to connect regularly with God's people, we miss out on the opportunities to grow in our faith, to be equipped for His work, to support His mission and to obey His Word.
The start of the new school year is only a few weeks away. It's a great time to commit for yourself before God and for your family to make connecting with His body a priority.
Here at The Orchard, beyond Sunday morning, getting into one of our upcoming fall growth groups is an ideal first step, or just ask one of the pastors or elders about getting plugged in.