Maybe you’ve heard the (lame) joke about the mother who tried to wake her son for church. When her son refused to get out of bed, she asked him why he didn’t want to go to church? From under the covers he replied, “I’ll give you two reasons. One, they don’t like me. Two, I don’t like them.” Undeterred, the mother pulled back the covers and replied, “I’ll give you one reason you have to go. You’re the pastor!”
The truth is, pastors don’t always want to go to church. Some Sundays we’d rather smash the alarm and stay in bed. Maybe it’s a result of the previous week, maybe it’s because we know who or what awaits us at church, maybe it’s because we’re in a season of spiritual struggle, or maybe it’s just an issue of physical fatigue. Whatever the reason, there are Sundays when pastors just don’t want to go to church.
I’ve been a pastor for eleven and a half years … that’s roughly 600 Sundays when it’s been my “job” to go to church. By God’s grace I’ve never missed a Sunday because of illness, which means the only Sundays I’ve missed church are a few weeks of vacation each year. I’d love to tell you that I woke up wanting to go to church each and every one of the last 600 Sundays. The honest truth is this … there have been Sundays when I just didn’t want to go to church.
However, after 600 Sundays of “mandatory” church attendance, I can honestly say that I’m glad it’s my “job” to go to church. Without question, the fact that I have to show up each and every week has been a great blessing for me spiritually. Here are four reasons I’m glad it’s my job to go to church.
- I need to be with the people of God. One of the marks of the early church was their togetherness. These believers knew how much they needed each other, and after a dozen years of pastoral ministry I know I too need the people of God.
- I need to worship with the people of God. Listening to my favorite worship band in my truck is great, but something special happens when the people of God gather together for worship. I desperately need this weekly preview of eternity.
- I need to study with the people of God. Beyond “big church,” I have consistently been blessed by studying God’s Word with other believers in a small group. I need to learn from the insights and experiences of other believers in my church.
- I need to pray with the people of God. Like worship, prayer is something we can do individually. But like worship, something happens when the people of God come together and actually pray with each other. I need regular corporate prayer.
If you’re a pastor, take time to thank God that your job requires you to pray, study, worship, and be with the people of God each and every week. This built in accountability is a blessing you should not take for granted.
If you’re not a pastor, realize that you too desperately need to pray, study, worship, and be with the people of God each and every week. It may not be your “job” to attend on Sundays, but you need the people of God more than you know.