Several years ago there was a public service announcement that encouraged people to attend the church of your choice. For those of us with a restoration spirit the announcement made no sense. The announcement seemed to suggest that it didn’t make any difference which church you went to, just go to some church. I thought of that recently as I listened to Dave Ramsey. He will often ask people if they are involved in a church. He will encourage them to find a church home. Many listen to him for his financial advice and not for his religious beliefs. He believes that a strong family will not only control their finances but work on a strong marriage and be actively involved in a church. To me it is hard to argue. The only argument I would have with him and the announcement is that I believe it makes a difference which church someone goes to.
Attend the church of your choice sounds like a Burger King commercial which says, Have it your way! At Burger King you can fix your hamburger the way you want it. Some believe you can have your church the way you want it, rather than the way that Jesus has built it. Church is not a matter of choice. We are commanded to worship in spirit and in truth. Truth suggests that God has given some direction as to how he wants us to worship.
BUT, I think there is some choice involved in church. You can choose to come or choose not to come. And in the purest sense we want people to choose to come, not under compulsion or reluctantly. To paraphrase scripture, God loves a cheerful attender! And, that’s a second choice, one can choose to enjoy worshiping the Lord or not. Church can be fun. One can choose to encourage others when he attends and make their worship experience meaningful. One can choose to work in good fellowship or he can choose to create controversy or trouble.
In truth, there are a lot of choices when it come to church and the worship experience. This hour will be what we choose to make it!