You are an important part of the family

Published 6:49am Sunday, August 25, 2013

Larry Stover

Valley Grande Columnist


I don’t miss Sunday services very often. Last Sunday was one of those rare events when, following a visit to the doctor, I had to stay at home. It was a difficult day, because I love being with my church family.

I know we live in a day when so many people see church attendance as a secondary option. It is very hard for those of us in ministry to compete with the system. But, I would like to share with you reasons, I believe the church should be a high priority in everyone’s life.

If the church is to be a high priority for an individual or a family, it must be a “spiritual home.”

For people who come to church prepared to worship — through prayer and anticipation — there is joy when having a fresh encounter with Jesus Christ in worship. People love to tell me they can have those encounters anywhere. Well, there is something awesome about encountering a Holy God as a Body of Christ.

Secondly, the church ought to be a family. The early church in Acts was known by the unconditional love they had for each other. They worshipped, sang, prayed and ate together as a family. They were “one” in Jesus Christ. They took care of each other and helped each other grow in the “grace and knowledge” of Jesus Christ.

People today are looking for a church home where they can be accepted regardless of color, church background or social-economic status.

From a third perspective, if we expect people to want to come to church, we need to make sure that, when they leave, their mind and soul have been encouraged and challenged.

I’ve been a firm believer in my 35 years of pasturing, that if people are willing to give me an hour or two of their week, I will make it worth their time.

The Bible studies and small groups that I lead always have plenty of food for thought. With every sermon I preach, I like to give the congregation “something to chew on.”

I know finding a church home is one of the toughest adventures most people ever go on. It can be stressful.

I would like to think the Christians of Dallas County could do a little soul searching and ask the Holy Spirit to enable us, one by one, to become a church that would be a “home” where believers could grow together as the “family of God” while growing in the “grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Through prayer and spiritual preparation, I would love to hear about churches where the presence of the Holy Spirit is so real and dynamic that people began to experience that fresh encounter getting out of their car and walking to the entrance.

As we celebrate our 10th anniversary as pastor of the people at Praise Park Nazarene, I want to thank them for being this kind of church. They are not perfect (but then, neither am I), but being around them in “Simply Beautiful.”

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