There are those who claim they can worship at home. But worship is not the sole reason we are commanded to meet together. On the surface it would seem that anything we can do at church, we can do just as well at home. So why are we commanded to meet? Why go to church? We are surrounded by forces that work to blow us off course. Sheer individual commitment alone is not enough to keep us in line. When we share in God’s grace through fellowship, we are spurred on to faithfulness!
God desires a relationship with His children. By becoming active in a local church, you safeguard yourself against missing out on all that God has for you. Your participation in a local church protects your personal fellowship with God. When you drift away from the family of God, it is only a matter of time until you drift away from fellowship with God.
The accountability and encouragement found in church fellowship anchor us against the tides that work to sweep us away. We can develop a network of relationships with other believers that works to ensure we don’t abandon our faith when the pressure is on to do so. To neglect the regular assembling with other Christians is to miss out on this essential element in the development of our faith.
Research findings confirm that Americans are slowly becoming less Christian and that in recent decades the challenge to Christianity in American society does not come from other world religions or new religious movements but rather from a rejection of all organized religions. All churches think that they are friendly but a large number are friendly primarily to one another. It’s difficult to accept newcomers. It’s difficult for somebody who has been a member of a church for 20 years to understand what it’s like to be a newcomer. Let’s look around the church on Sundays and find that unfamiliar face and make a special effort to seek out that person. Let’s make him/her feel welcome. It could make the difference.
Denis and I moved to Alexandria to be closer to family in Leesville. We did not know a soul here except our realtor. Our first priority was to find a church nearby where we would feel welcome, be able to worship, and become a part of a church family. We came from a small town in Arkansas and had to commute forty-five minutes to the nearest church. As you can imagine, we did not participate in many activities. We visited a couple of churches in Alexandria and found St. James. It was amazing!
When we walked into the nave and saw those magnificent windows and heard the choir and organ, we were very impressed. After the service, we were greeted warmly by many members of the congregation. When we left that day we felt we had found our church home. Being able to worship with a group of caring and friendly people has made our transition much easier. The Christian message to serve and give hope to all people radiates throughout the church. We look forward to many years at St. James.
We would like to particularly thank Dave and Judy Curry for taking us on as a project. They are fantastic!