There’s a song I love, “When All of God’s Singers Get Home.”
What a song of delight, in that city so bright / Will be wafted ‘neath Heaven’s fair dome. / How the ransomed will raise happy songs in His praise / When all of God’s singers get home.
As we sing here on earth, songs of sadness or mirth / ‘Tis a foretaste of rapture to come. / But our joy can’t compare with the glory up there / When all of God’s singers get home.
That song helps us look forward to the reunion in eternity, when all of God’s children assemble together and praise God! Even though “our joy can’t compare with the glory up there,” our assemblies are a “foretaste of the rapture to come.” Up there will be awesome. Down here should be a bit awesome, too!
What’s so special about a church worship service?
First, it reminds us that there’s a group of like-minded people loyal to God. In the world, we start to get dragged down by the licentious values of society. Profanity is everywhere. Sexual immorality tempts at every turn. Media outlets mock family values. Atheism is on the rise. An individual Christian may start to feel beleaguered and lonely.
A worship assembly reminds us that there are yet “knees that have not bowed to Baal” (1 Kin. 19:18). That there are other happy and intelligent people who have concluded that living for God is blessed and right in this life, and holds promise in the life to come.
Second, it builds our relationships as the family of God. Now, the gospel is truth, and Christianity will never be less than an intellectual devotion to truth. Even if the local congregation were down to three curmudgeonly saints, God would expect me to remain a devoted Christian who assembles for worship, because He lives, and His word is truth. Still, God designed the church to be a body of uplifting, loving brothers and sisters, who enjoy one another’s company (Acts 4:32, Rom. 12:10, 1 Pet. 5:14, etc). In fact, that phrase “one another” is used almost fifty times in the New Testament. The church growing in number and love, just like a family, is goal worth working toward.
Most people don’t leave the Lord because they intellectually see evidence to disbelieve God, but because they don’t make an emotional connection to the family of God. Building relationships is as important as Bible class!
Third, as we apply our minds to Scripture, we discover truths we can use throughout our lives. Personal Bible study is part of our growth as Christians. But corporate Bible study helps in another way, as we speak from our own perspectives. We also use our knowledge of Scripture to beat back weird theories (Acts 18:26, Tit. 1:9-11) that may pop into our brains on our own time.
Fourth, we get to pray together. Again, prayer is something we should do alone. But when we Christians join our voices in prayer, Jesus is in our midst in a special way (Matt. 18:20, James 5:16).
Five, it helps with outreach. There’s nothing more discouraging than having to apologize to visitors about a sleepy, poorly-attended worship service. The quality of the singing and the fullness of the pews let guests know we make worship a priority because we believe God is a priority. It becomes obvious that good things are happening, and that God is among us (1 Cor. 14:25)!
So, let all of God’s singers show up! Worship should be an exciting part of our week. Having 140 of 150 show up for church feels amazing! Having 90 of 150 show up feels like a defeat. I’d be more excited about the future prospects of a church of 60 members which has 55 show up, than a church of 150 which has 90 show up.
Parents, make all assembly times a non-negotiable part of your family’s life. Send a message about priorities, duty, even persecution. Think of church as a treat. When you say, “It’s the kids’ birthday, so we took a break from church to do something special,” you plant the thought that something—anything—is more important than God. When the kids head off to college, the list of things that require skipping church grows. A final exam becomes any homework at all; a once-a-year hiking trip becomes any jog on Sunday morning; the flu becomes the sniffles; “I got no sleep” becomes “Sunday is my only day to sleep in.” Soon, they worship only on the most convenient occasions. Finally, they dispense with the ruse altogether.
Be an asset to the body of Christ wherever you go. Let all of God’s singers show up! –John Guzzetta