As a child, someone taught me to intertwine my fingers, make a fist, push my forefingers up and then chant, “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open the door and see all the people.”
The Church shown above is located on the campus of Sewanee University in Tennessee. My husband and I had the opportunity to tour the campus with friends last fall. I was enthralled by the beautiful architectural design of the church, both inside and out. However, the wonder of the design and the beauty of the building itself, isn’t what makes the church, the church.
The church building, whether stone, brick, wood or metal, is just a structural work of design where believers come together for worship and prepare for outreach ministries. The real attraction for the church is the very people attending the church and the ministries that reach out beyond the walls to serve others in the community and beyond. Without people, the church wouldn’t exist. The common denominator that draws us together and keeps us coming back each week is the love of God He has poured out in each of our hearts. Furthermore, because God is in the people business, attending church is vital to our spiritual growth. Below, I have listed six ways to grow your faith by attending church.
- Study The Bible
- Discover Your Spiritual Gifts
- Connect with Others
- Ministry Opportunities
Worship is the one thing we do when we turn our attention to God and forget everything that is going on in our world. We simply choose to lay aside all things that fight for our attention and tune our hearts to praising, listening, hearing and learning what God is saying to us. Worshiping God is done through music, preaching, bible study, prayer and serving others. Worship sets the tone for everything else that follows in our lives, whether it be good or bad.
Next, studying the Bible, God’s word, teaches us God’s ways. We get a better understanding of who God is and what He stands for and how we can connect with Him and align our lives with His statues and learn to live life according to His ways. We also learn more about who we are in Christ and the importance of forgiving and loving others.
Prayer gives us the opportunity to pour our hearts out to God. It’s our communication with Him. It is through prayer, we offer up praise and thanksgiving for the things God has already done and will do in our lives. It is through prayer we make our request known and where we plea for God to intervene and fight for us. We also bring our hurts and our sorrows to God knowing we can have peace because we have faith He hears our prayers. We can always pray alone, however there is power in combining our hearts with other believers in prayer. It’s biblical and it does make a difference.
Through the hearing and teaching of God’s word, we begin to understand we were made for worshipping Him. The one thing we can do to serve Him is learn about the spiritual gifts, we as believers, have received. These can be found in the Bible, in Romans 12: 3-8. There are also online test you can take to help you discover your spiritual gifts.
Since the beginning of time, when God created Adam and realized it wasn’t good for him to be alone, He created in our hearts a desire and a need to connect with others. God created us and He is in the people business. God is all about growing His kingdom, and that kingdom is filled with sinful people saved by His grace. Here, we see the ugly, sinful person, but, one day, we will see the glorious wonder of God’s grace in each other, complete and without sin. It’s hard to imagine every creature, great and small, and all of us perfect without flaw, but I can’t imagine Heaven any other way. It’s simply too big to understand now and that’s where our faith takes over and takes hold of the hope we have in the future to come.
One more thing about connecting with others I will leave you with, is the fact we are a broken, sinful people under the grace of a perfect, unconditional love from an all knowing, all seeing, always present God. I have been hurt and I have hurt, unintentionally of course, but it doesn’t matter, hurt is hurt. I’ve had my trust broken and my name wrongfully associated because someone misinformed another, but, I simply come back to worship because I know God is bigger than anything that can try and tear me down. Take heart and seek courage from God and believe He is the author of everything that comes into your life and keep on keeping on. It pays dividends.
Once you are aware of how the church operates and works together to share the gospel and bring others into the fold, then opportunities for ministry come into focus. Sometimes ministry seems small and behind the scenes. Other times it prepares some for work that is easily recognized and open, such as pastoring a church or leading worship. It really doesn’t matter where you feel called to serve, they are all important to help the church function and move together, as one body, in the direction Jesus is leading. There are always areas to plug into and serve. Seek leaders in your church if you are not aware of which areas need help.
My prayer for you today, is for you to recognize the importance of finding a church, not just for attending, but that you will look for areas to plug in and serve. I’m also praying for any hurt or brokenness you may have experienced in the past, that you will trust God with the details and that you will take the first step and simply go and let God show you His way. In His time He will heal and God is always about reconciling hearts to Him and to others. God Bless.
For additional reading from the topics above look at:
- Psalm 95, Psalm 100
- Psalm 119: 1-8, 11
- Hebrew 4: 16, Romans 8: 34, Matthew 18: 20, Philippians 4: 6-7
- Genesis 2: 18, Hebrews 10: 25,
- 1st Peter 1: 22-25