“I’m so busy!” I found myself saying this to a friend recently. There are several responsibilities, leisure activities, family commitments, work obligations, and social events that fight for our time. As a result, it can be difficult to make time to attend church. I get it. But, by not prioritizing time to connect with God in community, aren’t we robbing ourselves from experiencing both truth and family?
Truth and family are the two reasons hundreds of people from each of our campuses gather at Troy, Orion or Clinton Township for something special we call Midweek. It’s a time to refuel as a community, worship, experience a deep, thought-provoking message, gain wisdom and understanding, and take our focus off the busyness of life and turn toward Jesus.
Allow me to share two important reasons why we should carve out time in the middle of our busy week to gather on Wednesday evenings at Midweek.
When we gather, we are reminded of who God is and who he says we are. This occurs not only as we dive deeper into the Scriptures, but also when we spend time worshiping God through song. Music is able to touch the human heart and soul in a way that spoken word cannot. When we raise our voices together, we are able to worship and connect with God and minister to one another. The apostle Paul tells us, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Colossians 3:16
When we sing, we speak truth to ourselves and one another. We are reminded of powerful truths. That Jesus is the name above every other name. That he is our hope and our peace. That we are chosen, not forsaken. We are reminded of who he is and who we are in him. In a culture that communicates a very different message, it is essential for us to be reminded of these foundational truths.
We all want to belong. However, at the current time there is an epidemic of loneliness in this country. Recent studies have shown that we are hyperconnected but disconnected and we have fewer non-virtual friends than ever before. But at Midweek, we are reminded that we are not alone. That we belong to a beautiful family, the family of God.
As a family, we seek to encourage one another. As the author to the book of Hebrews tells us:
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25
The word “encourage” means to “urge someone on to meet a difficult situation with confidence,” The reality is that we are either in a storm or will be in one soon. When we gather, we are reminded that in the midst of our storm, we are not alone. That God is with us and we have a community walking alongside of us as well.
A few months ago, we invited people at Midweek to write their burdens, pains, and struggles on a wall in our auditorium. This wall grew week-after-week as people vulnerably shared their hurts. One person wrote they had been struggling with opioid addiction for fifteen years. Another person wrote that God could never love and accept them. Many shared their struggles with loneliness, anxiety, shame and guilt. However, as the wall grew, those who began to pray grew as well. As people poured out their heart, people chose to come alongside of them. To close the wall, we invited everyone at Midweek to take a picture of one of the comments and to commit to praying for that person for the next week. It was beautiful to see our community come together to encourage one another. It was a powerful reminder that we are family.
When we gather as the people of God there is something special that occurs, which is why we are told in the Scriptures to continue to do so. When we gather, we are reminded that we are a part of a greater family. We are able to connect with God and breathe life into one another. We are refreshed and revitalized so we can then go out to the places where God has strategically and intentionally placed us to live out his mission.