How to Make Church Attendance More Than Just a Habit

Q: I admit that I only go to church out of habit. But I know this isn't right, and I ought to be getting more out of it. I don't plan to drop out, but how can I get out of this rut? - L.T.

A: Have you ever asked yourself what God wants to do in your life? And how your church should fit into His plan? Frankly, if you don't know why God wants you there, you'll probably never gain much from it.

But God has a plan for us - and life's greatest joy comes from discovering what it is, and then following it. What is it? Let me put it this way: God's plan is for us to come to know Him, and then to grow in our relationship with Him. To know... and to grow - those are the key words. The Apostle Paul put it this way: "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings (in my life)" (Philippians 3:10).

Is this your goal? Do you know Christ as your friend and constant companion - or does He seem remote to you, someone who lived 2,000 years ago but doesn't mean much to you today? Be honest with your answer. Then, if you have never done so, by a simple prayer of faith ask Jesus Christ to come into your life - and He will, because He loves you.

Then are you growing in your relationship to Him? How do you do this? By spending time with Him - in prayer, discovering the Bible, and having fellowship and worshiping with God's people. Before you enter church this week, ask God to speak to you through every part of the service - the sermon, music, prayers, etc. - and draw you closer to Himself.