9 Steps to Consider when You Don’t Want to Go to Church this Weekend

Maybe you’re a church lay leader or a pastor, but you’re not at all looking forward to going to church this weekend—for any number of reasons. I hope these suggested steps will help you to go anyway:

  1. Confess your struggles to God. There’s no reason to pretend with your feelings. God knows your situation. Talk to Him.
  2. Pray for a changed heart at least for this weekend. Even if your heart still struggles, ask God to change you just enough to get through the next couple days. He often heals gradually anyway, so trust that today’s healing will lead to tomorrow’s victory.
  3. Take some step toward dealing with whatever is causing you stress about church. Pray with a trusted friend. Make plans for a necessary meeting. Take first steps toward reconciliation (including godly confrontation, if needed). At least move in the right direction, and gathering with God’s people will be a little easier. 
  4. Don’t let the enemy discourage you more. I suspect Satan delights when we gather with God’s people, but do so with bitterness or hopelessness. If that’s where you are, at least don’t let him have any more victory. Believe that God will bless your obedience.
  5. Love the church anyway. The apostle Paul concluded 1 Corinthians with these words: “My love be with you all in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor 16:24). He loved this church that was really quite a mess. We need to love the messes of which we are a part, too.
  6. Remember that somebody’s watching you. We may not realize it, but somebody’s watching our walk with God. It could be our spouse, our kids, our grandkids, any church member, or even a non-believing friend. Keep this reality in mind as you decide about church this weekend. 
  7. Thank God for the opportunity to go at all. Many believers around the world don’t have the privilege of gathering with other believers without threat of persecution. 
  8. Choose to be obedient. Sometimes you must love God through your actions, even when your emotions lag behind. Be obedient to assemble with God’s people, modeling for your church to choose obedience even when it hurts.
  9. Intentionally go, looking for glimpses of God’s presence. We often see what we expect to see in church. If you expect to be aggravated, you will be. Instead, fight to go with eyes of faith. Watch for God’s doing His work in even the messiest churches. 

What else would you add to this list?

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