The Christian and church attendance

Published 2:24 pm Thursday, November 18, 2021

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From a very early age I have been enamored with sports of all kinds. Two of my favorites are baseball of all ages and college football. With any team sport there are important aspects within the team, from the manager and coaches to the players, which determine the overall success of a particular team. One could rightfully say that the team managers oversee the daily operation of the organization and that coaches are directly responsible for each team member and the team as a whole. The managers work to make an environment where the coach and the team can be successful. The coach’s role is more personal in that they are responsible to motivate each player so that the best result can be achieved by the team. They must know the strengths and weakness of each team member so that they can collaborate with them to encourage and instruct them to be a better team member. Coaches are trainers, instructors, and motivators; they fulfill all these responsibilities with winning in mind. Within each team, regardless of the position a player occupies, the teammates each have responsibilities. For the success of the team the manager, coach and team members must know one another. It is beneficial if each member knows the weaknesses and strengths of the others as it relates to the success of the team. In the end success is more likely when each person that makes up the team performs to the best of their ability and complete their responsibilities.
The church and sports teams have things in common. Every time we assemble, members of the congregation are called upon to fulfill certain tasks. In most congregations we have Bible class teachers, song leaders, preachers, those making announcements, those presiding over the Lord’s Supper, as well as other key roles. While many members in the pew might see these people as the most important ones in the worship service, I do not believe such is the case. We again could turn to sports for an understanding. Is the quarterback of a football team the most important person on the team? I would suggest that while his role is important, every role on the team is just as important and needed for success. When it comes to the church, God’s Word describes a different way of thinking.
When the church was established, the Holy Spirit gave certain members spiritual gifts. As Paul explains it, these gifts were for the profit of the entire membership (1 Cor 12:7). Then Paul shows that each member is just as important as the others in (1 Cor. 12:11-31). In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul described the church as being “fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:16).
Recently I have been concerned about the body of Christ throughout the world as well as at home. I have been disturbed by our lack of growth and enthusiasm. I believe one reason the body does not grow as it should and that enthusiasm is waning is that some members do not do their share of the work. Part of that work involves what takes place when we assemble to worship God and “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (Heb. 10:24-25). But to many, when they miss an assembly, they never consider the detriment they are to the whole. There are many members of the Lord’s body who seem to think nothing of forsaking their duties to God and the church for reasons such as visits with friends and family, hobbies, jobs, school functions, and so on. While it may be somewhat out of context, I believe we could apply what James had to say to the brethren concerning sins of the tongue. James said, “My brethren, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:10).
It has been the notion of some, that not all services are important and that one may miss Sunday evening if they attended the morning worship hour or vice a versa. There are those who act as if we have multiple services on Sunday and throughout the week to give different people opportunities to attend who may be busy doing other things on Sunday morning. We need to realize that elders, or men of the church in the absence of elders, do not set things up for this reason. As every sporting contest is important to every member of a sports team, so it should be with the local congregations of the Lord’s church. These times of class and worship are to worship God and edify one another. The same is true for any worship or class activity such as occur on Wednesday evenings. Christians are all on the same team and it takes each of us being at services and being involved to properly accomplish the purpose of worshipping God and edifying one another. We should ask what message we send to our brethren and to the world about us when we put people and things of this world before worshipping God. Christian brethren, we each have a role, and the church will grow if we fulfill it.
(Tony Hoss is minister at the Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton)

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