I'll admit it right from the start "I LOVE CHURCH". I am very biased when it comes to talking about church attendance because I love it so much it clouds my vision or better said; "it clarifies my vision". I do not just love church because I am the pastor I really, really love it and would go and have, even when I was not pastoring.
This church thing started for me at birth. From my earliest memories church has been a wonderful, essential part of my life. Church is were my friends were, my extended family. Most importantly Church was where I learned about Jesus and found I could personally experience relationship with HIM. I did not want to miss a single service because I thought I would be missing a life changing event!
Yesterday driving home from Church I see this car with it's windows all decorated up about a soccer team. They were obviously returning from a soccer match where they were victiourious and the final line on the back window read: ON TO STATE! My first thought was "bummer they missed church".
In my lifetime I have won more than my fair share of ribbons, trophies and certificates. Most of them a long gone, lost or mostly forgotten. I was on some winning teams and some not so winning teams but what has really impacted my life the most is what happened weekend and week out at my local church. Organized sports is great! It really taught me some very valuable lessons. But my character was shaped in church.
Kids camp, Youth Camp, Kids crusades, Royal Rangers, marriage retreats, marriage seminars, revivals, missions trips, serving in my church. Great programs that helped shape my life and character. All of this and so much more has impacted my marriage (33 years) my children who also love God and His church. I am certain things would not be ok if attending church was not a priority in my life.
A commitment to raise our family in a healthy church setting has had a huge impact on each member. I went to prom my Junior and Senior year. I can't even remember my date my Junior year but I do remember a beautiful young lady that was voted Youth Camp Queen and is now my wife. I would not trade any single day of my life and I enjoyed every time I attended God's House. I really love being in HIS family.
Not sure if I have convinced you of how important it is to make Church a habit but let's move on to the "HOW TO" part just in case I did get through to you. Here are the absolutes for developing a good church attending habit.
1. ALL IN! It's never going to take unless you personally are all in! You can be a single mom or dad or maybe you are the only parent who really wants to go and take the children to church. Perhaps you are single or a married couple with no children. The only thing that really matters is...ARE YOU ALL IN? Commitment means: "I am going to Church regularly and any child in my home (age matters not) is going with me". We told our kids not to take jobs that required they work on Sunday. WHY? Because far more important than their job is their SOUL. Lot's of jobs out there and there always will be. Only one life to get your SOUL RIGHT! NO EXCUSES. Over the years I have seen moms bring their children to church with no support from dad even a few dads who did so with no support from the mom. You don't need anyones support you just need to be ALL IN.
2. GET INVOLVED. This is true of everything. Soccer parents who volunteer to be coaches, team leaders, event schedulers etc... their faithfulness to each game and practice spikes through the roof. It's true of Church too. If you get involved and get your kids involved soon you won't hear "Do we have to go to church" you will hear "When do we get to go to church again". There is a lot to do at church much more than you probably think. Whatever your gift or interest there is likely an opening for you at church. Gardener, Admin, teacher, coach, mentor, music band member, artist, actor, handyman, host, technician, organizer...you name it and it is needed at your local church.
3. FORM FRIENDSHIPS. Your church is not the building it is the people. Get connected and form friendships that will be life long. I love my church family. Look forward to seeing them each week. Often I miss them so much I call them and get together during the week. Just this past Sunday some of our friends invited us to lunch at their home. It was incredible food but the time with them, hearing their stories and laughing together was priceless. In order to build these friendships you need to be willing to take the first step. Invite someone to coffee, over for dinner, out to a ballgame. Take a chance on friendship you will never regret it.
If you do these things you will find that going to church will never be a problem. You will find yourself a bit sad when you miss a service because you need to be out of town. You will also see spiritual growth happening in your life and that of your family. Regular attendance to the House of God has a way of maturing us in Christ.
if you do not have a home church and are in the Austin/Round Rock area we encourage you to give the Grace Place Church a try. www.gp.church