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We Need You Here

This week, Pastor John hands over the TAGD keyboard to Pastor Brent Whitefield, Northpoint’s Pastor of Missions and Outreach.

We Need You Here

Dear Church Family,

If there is one appeal that I could make to my friends here at Northpoint, as we move toward the start of a new ministry year, it is this: Make it a priority this year to join your brothers and sisters in Christ in corporate worship each Sunday. Our church culture has changed so much that this appeal, which would have been unnecessary 100 years ago, seems almost gratingly legalistic today. I recognize that there are a lot of other things to do on Sunday mornings. Increasingly, places of work expect Sunday morning availability. There are youth sports leagues. There is the allure of the one day a week to sleep in. I also recognize that we should not judge ourselves, much less others, on the basis of church attendance. (Churches used to give out perfect attendance pins as if they connoted a higher plain of piety or spiritual maturity.) It is entirely possible to be in church every Sunday and to be spiritually dead as the proverbial doornail. Unfortunately, the opposite is not true: It is not possible to be fully alive while neglecting the communion of the saints, the gathering together of the body of Christ. While Sunday morning worship services are not and should not be our only sources of spiritual input, they are the most important.

For many of you, this admonition is completely unnecessary. Many of you have established a pattern of faithful Sunday attendance. Wild horses couldn’t keep you away from 988 West Ontario Avenue every Sunday morning. But for many Christians in 2015, church attendance is somewhere down the list of priorities. There are lots of excuses for not coming to church. And yet it is, inescapably, an issue of priorities. I know Christians whose work ethic would never permit them to sleep in and miss a day of work. I know Christians whose competitive drive would not permit them to miss a sports tournament. And yet these same Christians will readily skip Sunday services if an interesting enough alternative presents itself.

Let me speak plainly: We arrange our lives around those things that are most important to us. We make sacrifices of the things that are less important for the things that are more important.  I am asking you, at the start of the new school and ministry year, to resolve to make the changes you need to make, make the sacrifices that are necessary to prioritize the body of Christ this year. If that means fewer hours of work, then work fewer hours. If it means you will make less money, then make less money and adjust your lifestyle accordingly. If it means quitting a sports league, quit the league. If it means finding another time for sleep, golf, exercise, or reading, get out the calendar and carve out that time elsewhere. Rather than making Sunday worship one of those good things that you squeeze into the cracks of your busy schedule, make those other good things work around your commitment to spending Sunday mornings with your family in Christ.

The writer of Hebrews frames the admonition not to neglect the gathering together (as is the habit of some) in the context of the importance of stirring one another up to love and good deeds and encouraging one another in our walk with God. We need the stirring up that you provide, we need the encouragement that only your physical presence with us can bring. …

See you Sunday.

Pastor Brent