The Need for Preparation
It is a necessity that we stretch before we exercise, step foot onto the court, or prepare to take the field before the next game. A refusal to do so can be defeating.
How much do we prepare for big events in life? Perhaps for a wedding? A big dinner? First day of class? We prepare because of the importance of the event.
And in all of these we would refuse to be late, to scramble, and to come unprepared. We come with a ready spirit and expectant to have joy and an enriching time.
Do you value your local church gathering? Is it possible that you come to church scrambling, restless, frustrated, and walking in late? Do you approach the gathering of the saints with great expectation and great joy?
We are prone to have a more prepared heart for simple gatherings than we do for the saint’s gathering. So, how should we come to church prepared?
5 Simple Ways You Can Prepare for Church
- Come Early — when you come late, you miss much of one of the reasons why we gather with the saints: to gather with the saints. This is a significant time to grow in your love and fellowship with your brothers in Christ. This is what Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad,” (ESV). You are a means to speak and encourage and fellowship. Your brothers and sisters will grow in holiness by your speaking to them about the love of Christ, the preciousness of faith, the surety of the Scriptures, etc. Lay out your clothes Saturday night (and your kid’s clothes), eat an early breakfast, and leave on time.
- Come Humble — you are coming to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). Thus, you know that you need a fresh reminder of God’s greatness and glory. As a mortal, you are fleeting and your heart needs to be reminded of the gospel again and again. So, come knowing that the Lord would instruct you, convict you, correct you, and train you in righteousness for the days ahead (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
- Come Prayerful — Paul exhorts us to be praying “at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:18, ESV). Come praying for your pastor. Praying for fellowship. Praying for faith to receive the Word and to be encouraged. Pray for the singing and for those who are leading. Your pastor and your church need the Spirit of God to work within the hearts of you, the congregation, and the pastor(s) so that God would be glorified in the saints.
- Come Versed — that is, with your Scriptures. Bring your Bible. Come to the gathering with your sword in hand and ready to lay open and unfold so that the Word may lay you bare (Hebrews 4:12-13). Not only is your pastor encouraged when he sees and hears many Bibles, he is reminded that you have come to have the Scriptures change you.
- Come Regularly — it can’t be stated enough. You must continue gathering and to remain a faithful, regular member of your church. While church membership is explicitly commanded, it is implicitly assumed (see Matthew 18:15-20; Acts 2:42-47, 20:28; 1 Corinthians 5; Hebrews 13:17). It it essential that you come regularly and “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some” (Hebrews 10:25, ESV). Covenant with your church, don’t just date them. Belong to a local assembly for the sake of your pastor, your fellow brothers, and for the glory of Christ as the gathered body.
The local church is the loveliest place on earth and a picture of the new world to come. A church is supposed to be a foretaste of heaven on earth. How much more then should we anticipate and seek the joy of the gathering?