Have you ever visited another church? It usually feels a little strange to attend a service other than your home church. Some churches have lots of people attending, and some churches have smaller congregations. Church buildings can look very different both inside and out too. There may be different programs for children, teens, and adults. Churches might have an organ or a piano or a band or maybe no musical instruments at all. Some churches have one minister and some have more than one. The order of the service may be different from what you are used to as well. But no matter what the building looks like or the order of the service, in all churches they worship God and praise Him for His goodness and mercy. The Scriptures are read and the Word of God is preached.
Sometimes we get locked into thinking our own church building and traditions each Sunday are the only or best way of worshiping the Lord. We forget there are others who love God just as much and worship Him in the same spirit as us, but in other types of buildings or in other types of services. There’s is no better or worse way than our own – just different.
The Bible says in Matthew 18:20. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” God isn’t concerned about what the church building looks like or what instruments we may or may not use, or what the order of the service may be. He cares about our hearts. The church is really its people – the Bible calls us the “Body of Christ”—all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). We must always worship God in love and truth and then practice our faith by helping those around us. Attending church is important, so we can learn God’s Word and encourage each other in the faith, but the building, music, and service are only a small part of true worship.
Let us say a prayer together. Dear God, thank You for our churches whatever they look like and whatever our services may include. We know that You love Your church and bless it. We also know that the real church is us – worshipping and serving You forever. In Your holy name we pray, Amen.
Ann Moody is a retired pastor, formerly of the Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.