Worshipping the Lord or Fulfilling Requirements?

A few years ago, I met a woman whose words changed my heart and life. She said to me, “I need to go to church to fulfill my weekly requirements.” Her words grieved me and made me look at my spiritual life in a new way.

I thought to myself,

Is my church attendance about growing in my relationship with the Lord, or is it about checking church attendance off my To Do list as an activity?  Do I put my God priorities in the same category as my other daily functions?

I always have a To Do list and I follow it very persistently. Yes, church is on my list, but does it carry the same weight as my household chores and errands?

It was time for a personal attitude check about attending church!

I asked myself some serious questions and searched God’s Word for guidance.

1. Is the purpose of my church attendance to grow in Christ Jesus?

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen 2 Peter 3:18

2. Are my thoughts filled with distractions about the next meal, my family, or with my weekly agenda? Or, is my purpose and goal to worship the Lord with a pure heart?

Honor the Lord for the glory of his name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. Psalm 29:2

3. Am I listening to what God is saying? Sure, I’m in church, physically, but am I allowing my mind to wander?    

But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. James 1:25

I sometimes refer to Sunday worship time as “the service.” However, I have heard it said many times that the service actually begins when we leave the church building.

4. Is my main goal to serve the Lord better after I fill my heart with the weekly scripture and message?

 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. John 12:26

5. Am I filled with the distractions of worry and fear?  If my mind is not at peace, then it is possible that my heart will not receive God’s message.                                                          

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6

6. Do I have un-confessed sin that inhibits my dialogue with God?

If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; Psalm 66:18

Though I was grieved to hear my friend refer to Sunday services as a requirement. I am thankful for her comment, because it stopped me in my tracks and led me on a journey of my own. I have since become much more mindful of my own church attendance and regularly ask myself questions to make sure I’m worshipping instead of checking off one more To Do.

How about you? Is your weekly church attendance an act of worship or a requirement you’ve fulfilled?

Consider asking yourself some of the questions I now ask regularly:

1. Am I going to church to fulfill requirements or to wholeheartedly worship the Lord?  

2. Do I want to get church over with as soon as possible so that I can do my things?       

3. Am I excited to learn as much as I can from the Bible so I can apply God’s directions to my life?

Let’s make sure we check our attitudes and emotions before we go to church. Leave our agendas, thoughts about our busy schedules, and worries at the door. Let’s go to church with an open mind and receive the beautiful gifts of worship God offers through fellowship, community, and connection. Church is a great place to learn, grow, and serve the Lord with all our hearts.


Elaine L. O’Neill currently lives in New Jersey with her husband, Dennis, and their two grown adopted children. She has a passion for prayer, teaching, missions and parenting. She is an excellent communicator, has a strong Biblical foundation, and loves using her gift of teaching to inspire people to pray, share their faith, become strong disciples and grow spiritually. Elaine is a Bible teacher, speaker, writer and children’s worker. Her  blogs are found at www.elaineloneill.com.

photo credit: http://www.creationswap.com/johnnyjr

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