For a short time I was out of the pastor’s role. My family and I had no church home. We got up on Sunday morning asking ourselves what church we were going to go to that day. Some mornings it was difficult to be enthusiastic about going to any church. Although this time lasted only a few months, we found it surprisingly easy to ask what time the game would be on that day and adjust our schedule accordingly. Some churches we liked; some that we liked presented other problems; others we knew we wouldn’t attend again. But during those months our family learned an important lesson: under grace, people choose to attend worship. And, of course, that means they can choose not to. When we finally settled on a church, we attended more or less regularly.
I will confess that we found a very large church in our community and sat in the back. We had been pretty well beat up. We just wanted to find a place to worship God without all the #@*%. We were welcomed with kindness and allowed to maintain as much distance as we wanted. I have known the pastor for well over 20 years and he didn’t push anything on us. He just loved us. It was great!
We enjoyed worshiping at our new church. We appreciated the teaching. Our hearts were drawn to the Lord. Our boys enjoyed attending with us. In general, worshiping at our new church was a very good experience. So it was easy for us to attend. But what if it wasn’t? Would we have attended if, in the morning, we found ourselves dreading the event? I doubt it. With no preacher to remind us of the “dangers” of our delinquency, and with our understanding of God’s love and grace, we were free to choose whether or not to attend a worship service. This in no way violated the scriptural admonition for us to continue to meet with other believers. Most of our friends are believers and we enjoyed many facets of church life and gathering.