Someone once wrote to their local newspaper explaining why he believed church attendance was a waste of time. He wrote, “I’ve gone for thirty years now and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So I think I’m wasting my time by listening and the pastors are wasting theirs by preaching.” Another person responded to this statement with these words, “I’ve been married for thirty years now. In that time my wife has cooked over 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I can’t recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: they all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me those meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I hadn’t gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!”
Maybe the writer of Hebrews had something like this in mind when he wrote, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23-25 NASB) The phrase ‘not forsaking our own assembling together’ couched in the middle of this passage clearly indicates that God expects us to share with other believers in the context of worship. The words around the phrase indicate that we need this fellowship for four reasons: (1) to reinforce our faith, (2) to stimulate our love for each other, (3) to motivate us to do good deeds, and (4) to encourage one another.
Churches need to periodically evaluate their ministry and ask the question, “Are we meeting these four needs?” God requires it and those who come to worship each week have every right to expect it. T he reward for having such a ministry will be the enthusiasm displayed by the members.