Are we trading community for convenience? (A call to come back to church)

I get it. It has been really convenient to stay home and watch church online from the comfort of our living rooms in our favorite, comfy clothes. Out of necessity, this was the only way we could meet together as a church so we could keep everyone safe as our community dealt with a worldwide pandemic. Here’s the thing: what started out as a necessity may now have become a habit of convenience.

No judgment here. The allure of being able to roll out of bed on a Sunday morning after a stressful week of working from home, shopping for groceries while wearing masks, and just trying to get through another week without getting sick or getting someone else sick, is irresistible and justifiable. Again, I get it.

However, now that we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with multiple vaccines for COVID-19 beginning to roll out and with many people now having been inoculated or in the process of it, life is beginning to once again come back to some semblance of what it was before COVID. It won’t be exactly the same, but it certainly won’t be what we have experienced this past year. As we begin to venture out of our homes, going to work in-person as well as school and other activities, it’s also, I believe, time to begin to come back to church.

Here are 3 great reasons why I think you need to start coming back to church:

The Church involves the physical gathering of believers. At its core, church involves the physical gathering of believers. This has been true since its founding as shared in the Book of Acts where believers regularly gathered to devote themselves to the apostles’ teachings, to celebrate communion, to enjoy meals together, and to meet each other’s needs. While we have limited our in-person gatherings and even stopped meeting in person for a period of time, these measures are only temporary. We have always planned and look forward to the day when we could all once again gather together in-person to worship, fellowship, and serve each other.

Community is best created in person. Pastor and blogger, Carey Neuhoff, shares great insight into the aim of online engagement and in-person community:

"About 40% of couples who date these days meet online via a dating app or site. Not shocking. But couples who meet online don’t stay online. You’ve never met a couple who said “We’ve been married for six years but we’ve never met in person…” No, both dating and church online lead to in-real-life."

I hope streaming our worship services and several of our Summit Groups have been a great way to help you keep connected to the church during this time. However, our online work is simply a means to an end; it is not the end. The end goal is a real-life, in-person connection with each other. The Bible encourages us to...“let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

God created us to be in a relationship with each other and this happens best when we are in-person. There will always be a need for an online presence and avenue for people to engage with us. And that is why Summit Ridge will continue to invest in our online experience. However, it is no substitute for doing real-life together. Here’s a question to think about: Has what started out as a necessity become convenient for you? If so, please do not trade community for convenience! We need each other, and we need to see each other.

Your church misses you. I know, kinda sappy, right! But it’s true. I haven’t seen many of you for almost a year. And you know what? I want to see you, and so does everyone else. I miss seeing your smiley faces and your presence at church. I want to see you and even give you a fist bump.

I know for many of you, it may not be time yet. You’re still waiting to get vaccinated or you may be at high risk or living with someone who is. I understand. Maybe for some of you, you just like the convenience of staying home. I hope you will ponder what I have shared, but more than that, I hope you will come back to church. I hope to see you soon!

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