Earlier this month, Sarah Bessey posted an article detailing why she enjoyed going to church. For Bessey, the church wasn’t just a gathering of Christians, it was a gathering of family. Everyone there held a place in her heart and served a purpose within the building's walls. Recently, writer Paul Walters continued this theme of Church-attendance in his newest article: 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Church. In Walters' opinion, many Christians try to use church as a quick fix to their problems, and miss its true, life-changing potential.
He expounds on this principle by revealing that the first few ways of getting the most out of church are actually the simplest. Step 1: Show Up,
“Some things really are that simple. Show up in worship. Be with the gathered people of God Sunday after Sunday. Not when you feel like it. Not on the Sunday morning when you feel like you need to be there. Every Sunday, or Saturday or whenever your church worships. You get the point. Be with the people of God and make it a regular part of your life.”
2. Tithe your income.
“By tithing I mean give 10% of your income to the church. Sound like a huge commitment? It is. Trust me, I know from experience. If you can’t just go to 10% start smaller, 5% or 6%, but set a percentage and work to increase it over time. Why? Because giving generously frees you from the hold money can have on your life. Because we care for and support the things we give money to. Because our spending and giving habits reveal priorities.”
The third step in Walters' article may prove to the most difficult for Christians: Get involved. As difficult as it can be to give up our money, studies have shown that the one thing people value more is their time. Think about it, our culture is built on devices that are designed to save us time. A text message is faster than a phone call, an E-Z Pass means you don’t have to stop at a toll booth, and there are literally restaurants classified as fast food. It can be hard to set our own lives aside for the sake of helping others.
Yet according to Pastor David Murray, this sacrifice is necessary because it illustrates the giving of God’s salvation.
“At the heart of the Gospel is sacrificial self-giving (John 3:16). That’s why when the Apostle Paul wanted to encourage the Corinthians to give more, he pointed them to the person and work of Christ. ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich’ (2 Corinthians 2:9). Yes, you abound in faith, love, etc., but ‘see that you abound in this grace also.’ When we give sacrificially, painfully, for the benefit of others, we are faintly and on a small-scale preaching the Gospel message.”
In the end, Bessey and Walters are right. The Church is more than an institution, it’s a family, and being part of a family means investing, and sometimes sacrificing, for others. Be it your time, your money, or your comfort zone, only by setting these things before the Lord are we able to grow as Christians, and build Christ’s house into the kingdom it was meant to be.
*Ryan Duncanis the Culture Editor for Crosswalk.com.