The Importance of Gathering

         In past articles, I have alluded to the possibility that after either limited or no in-person worship services, some may choose not to return to their churches after COVID restrictions are lifted. I was just thinking about how important it is for believers to gather to worship.

         First, consider the meaning of the word church. The original Greek definition was a “gathering of those summoned.” The Greek word is “ecclesia.” As Christianity continued to impact communities, the word was simply defined as an assembly. Either way, it is evident that those who have been called out of sin to walk in the way of Christ are expected to gather — to meet together.

         That brings us back to the decision facing believers as the state incrementally permits in-person worship services to resume. The question is this, “How important is worshiping with brothers and sisters in Christ to you?”

         I fear that, in our modern era of Christianity, church attendance concerns do not measure up to those of the first century believers. They could hardly wait to gather. In fact, the Bible says they did so “daily.”

         “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47 NIV).

         This awful pandemic has had a horrible effect on the world. It has changed so much, hindered so many, taken the lives of thousands and affected the mindsets of many believers about the importance of church. Still, there are so many believers who, like the early church, can hardly wait to return to gathering in Sunday School classes, fellowship halls and especially in sanctuaries and worship centers to praise the Lord.

         I pray that the churches of the BMA of Arkansas will soon be back — gathering together — with glad and sincere hearts! May the Lord then add to the churches those who are saved.

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