What Would I Say to Tammy?

Tammy was a teenager who was part of the youth group in the church I served as a Pastor many years ago.  Once, while engaging the youth in a discussion about the importance of attending weekly worship services at church, Tammy challenged me.  She argued that church services were boring and a waste of her time.  She felt closer to God when she walked her dog in the park, and she explained that her relationship with God was “a private, personal thing between her and God.”  When Tammy finished with her short speech, I did not know what to say to her.  Now, many years later, I wonder where Tammy is and I’ve figured out what I wish I could say to her. Listen to the Jan 28 sermon, “What Would I Say to Tammy?”

I would tell Tammy that while our relationship with God is personal, it’s not entirely private.  There is a corporate and community identity that we share as part of the people of God (1 Peter 2:9-12).  When we gather on the Lord’s Day, with the Lord’s People, in the Lord’s House, it is a public profession of that personal relationship with God, and it is a reminder that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, we are connected to a bigger community of Faith where we worship, grow and serve together.  Participating in corporate worship on a regular basis helps us to remember who we are and Who’s we are.

I would also tell Tammy that corporate worship inspires us to serve others. I know it is possible to do kind deeds of compassion on our own, but the corporate nature of the Church allows us to pool resources, energy, and abilities in a way that allows us to do big things that impact many lives.  Over the year, my participation in the Church has allowed me to build hospitals, orphanages, dig fresh water wells, provide medical equipment, feed thousands, and do so much more.  Corporate worship is the place where we remember the call to serve the poor, hurting and needy.  Through worship, we are inspired to be servants of the Servant, who declared, “when you serve the least of these, you have served me.” (Matthew 25:34-40).

Finally, I would tell Tammy that attending Church exposes us to opportunities for spiritual growth that can help us become the people we were meant to be.  I am sorry that some Church worship services can be boring at times, but if they are led well, and if time and attention is invested in making the worship experience excellent, then few hours of the week can be more beneficial to our spiritual growth than the hour spent in public worship.  Perhaps this is why the Bible encourages us to be consistent in practicing “The Discipline of Assembly” and we are warned not to neglect gathering together (Hebrews 10:25).

Pastor Mark Miller

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About Heather McEntee

Director of Communications at Virginia Beach United Methodist. Background in small business and non-profit operations, marketing, and sales for the past 13 years.