Some of you will attend church tonight, but most of you will attend tomorrow. We often go to church with unstated assumptions such as “The service will be about 65 minutes long,” “People will recognize me as a leader,” or “I won’t like the music today.” My point of this post is to challenge you NOT to take these assumptions to church:
- That nobody will miss you if you don’t go. Somebody will, even if you don’t know that. It might be that person who shares a pew with you without knowing your name. It might even be your pastor that you think doesn’t know whether you’re there in the midst of the crowd.
- That everybody in the church is a member. That’s often not the case. Introduce yourself to somebody, and be honest: “You know, I’m not even sure who’s a member here. Tell me about you and your family.”
- That you have nothing to learn from God’s Word. If you’re going expecting to learn nothing, you’ll fulfill your own prophecy – not because there’s nothing to learn, but because you’ve already closed your heart and mind to God.
- That everybody’s a hypocrite in the church. Sure, churches have hypocrites. Some churches have many of them. Even those churches, though, usually have a remnant of true believers. Be one of the latter group.
- That everybody knows your name. That might be the case, but even members of small churches don’t always know everybody. Some did know, but they’ve forgotten some names. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself.
- That preaching’s easy for your pastor. It’s not. We often sweat when we pray over sermons and their delivery.
- That no unchurched person you know will go with you. If you assume that, you’ll never invite anybody – and you’ll miss the person who’s just waiting for an invitation.
- That nothing’s going to happen in your services. You may not always see visible responses to the gospel, but all of us have to respond in some way to the preached Word. If you or your pastor preaches the Word of God, something’s going to happen.
- That the church is your church. You may be the longest-tenured member of your church, but the church is still not yours. It’s God’s church, and He has a way of teaching us that truth when we think otherwise.
- That Sunday’s the only day you have to complain to your pastor and staff. If you have a genuine issue, you have the rest of the week to connect with them. Pray for them today, and hold your tongue tomorrow so they can worship and lead this weekend without distraction.
- That you’re a believer standing in the center of God’s will. You might be, but God might also be challenging you to follow His will in another direction. He might also be striving to convince you that you’re actually not a genuine believer. Don’t assume that He’s not chasing after you.
- That your life has no effect on your church. If you’re a believer in a local body of Christ, your life is not separated from your congregation’s life. Your faithful obedience invites blessings on others, but your disobedience – even if it’s hidden – blocks God’s blessings on your church. You do not live in isolation.
Spend some time with the Lord today, and see if you’re making any of these bad assumptions in your life.