Maybe I’m not a very good church visitor.
When I travel around the country, I like to visit with other Churches of Christ and meet with their members in assembly worship. What many of my fellow travelers like to do is describe the assemblies they visited and then compare them to their assemblies back home. Of course, these travelers are seeing, they think and in their opinions, the results of good ideas and bad ideas and they see and experience friendly congregations and not so friendly congregations. They note that some congregations are obviously growing and some are obviously shrinking. They see that some have dynamic preachers and leaders while some don’t have preachers, elders, deacons, or anyone in evident leadership roles. The travelers comment that some assemblies are uplifting, enjoyable, and authentic while others are characterized as dead, cold, and uninviting.
Again, I may not be a very good church visitor.
You see, I think that assembling with other Christians is more about me and the relationship and attitude that I have toward God and fellow believers than, instead of, thinking that assembly, by its very nature, is meant to make me feel good, spiritual, excited, or otherwise satisfied. What I put into assembly, it seems to me, is more important than what I expect assembly to give to me just because I am present or as some kind of award for showing up. Assembly is not something for me to judge and grade. Instead, assembly is a time and place and opportunity that I have to make something special for others, in God’s name. Assembly is a place where God can move positively in the attitudes and actions of humble believers because of what He has done for all of us.
I was honored and distinguished to have been in worship assembly today with other Christians in a town that I am currently visiting. I had never been with these people before and, in fact, I may not ever assemble with them again. But it was good to have met with them in assembly worship. I hope I was able to be pleasant, to share a “good morning” with a few, to generally encourage in song and prayer, and to spread Christian assurance and calm in my demeanor. I hope that I was able to share a smile or two and, maybe, make someone else feel comfortable or, at least, less stressed.
Yes, it was good to have assembled today even if I was just a one-time visitor. It is good to know that there are others who meet, as community and in the Lord’s name, to encourage, worship, fellowship, and strengthen each other. I was glad to have been part of their assembly together. I hope I contributed to the worship time. May God bless the community of believers in this town as they continue to assemble in the best way that they can.