One preacher often used this evil dig: if you love the pastor, you’ll attend church Sunday mornings; if you love the people, you’ll be at the Sunday night service too but if you love the Lord you’ll also be at Wednesday night Bible study. A few titters came from the congregation but the jab hidden in this comment discourages people. The real message it sends is this: if you're not here every time the doors are open, you'd better feel guilty about it.
Many people arrive at church in need of encouragement. Their hearts long for God’s Word and the kindness and love of fellow believers. They’re already overwhelmed by home and job responsibilities. It's their time to receive something from the pulpit, an anointed sermon and heartfelt prayer. They also need to receive from other members of the congregation - affection, thoughtfulness and again, prayer.
They don’t need a razzamatazz of announcements that will fill their already crowded calendars. Women especially don't want to hear that ten pans of lasagna and 100 dozen cookies are needed for the following week. (Don't stores sell that stuff?) Or that a busload of teens is descending on the church and every one of them will require a billet. And no one - man, woman or child - ever needs a drawn-out begging fest for money.
I know, I know, somebody has to do the heavy lifting in church. The question each person in the pew needs to answer is – does it need to be me?
After years of exhaustive "service to the Lord" I finally gave myself permission to say NO to many church requests – and it was one of the best things I’ve done for myself. It freed me to think about what Jesus wants me to do with my life - surely there's more to my service for God than filling in my name on endless miles of sign-up sheets.
Paul wrote in I Corinthians 7:23 - "You were bought with price - purchased with a preciousness and paid for (by Christ); then do not yield yourselves up to become (in your own estimation) slaves to men, (but consider yourself slaves to Christ). (Amplified version)
God sees me and you as individuals not as just another church member. We each have a calling from God and gifts we've received to fulfil that calling. Many pew people have greater gifts for soul-winning than pulpit people. But sadly, too many become bogged down in church-sitting and never get on with their own telling-people-about-God ministry.
When the busyness of doing church hinders our calling in Christ; when we feel more discouraged exiting the church than entering, something is wrong. And no one can fix it but us.
The best way to start the fixing process is by saying NO to things that hinder and YES to fulfilling God's call in our lives.