In one of the small group studies I led this week we had a conversation about all of the ways we benefit from maintaining regular church attendance. Benefits such as: being reminded of God’s love, experiencing creative expressions of worship, and belonging to a community of faith that includes others who are trying to live out the gospel.

When wondering why sometimes we only see some folks ever so often, it was suggested that perhaps getting out of the habit of regular attendance makes it easy to forget what a fulfilling thing it is to make church a priority. Are there things you remember being a priority growing up that you made sure was on your schedule no matter what?

When I was a child, the Midwest City Bombers may as well have been an NFL football team in my eyes. The stadium was in the neighborhood I grew up in and from an early age I was walking to all of the home games. I watched both of the Gundy brothers lead our team to state championships. I remember going out to midfield to shake Cale Gundy’s hand and having no idea this kid was only a teenager. Looking up at him, to me, was like looking into the eyes of Joe Namath.

With the fans cheering, the band playing, and the team working together for victory, it was the atmosphere and the experience that made it a priority for me at 7:00 under the Friday night lights. Were there things you remember not wanting to miss out on like fairs, festivals or sporting events? 

One of my earliest memories is of a very “grown up” project I was taking on…painting my swing set. It required having my own little paint brush, a little can of paint, and a whole lot of climbing. To my recollection, it took me a solid week to complete! Of course, it may have gone a little faster had I not been so intent on everything coming to a screeching halt at 4:30.

Each afternoon my highest priority was not missing a single episode of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. I was swept away by the miniature world of model houses as the camera panned down to the model porch of the model version of Mister Roger’s home.

“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…” Mister Rogers would sing.

“Yes, it is,” I would tell the television, “I was just outside in my neighborhood painting my swing set.”

I loved learning about the arts, different occupations and how things are made.  Mister Roger’s taught me to believe in myself, to see the good in others and to work toward the betterment of my community.

Much more than just entertainment, Mister Roger’s helped shape my awareness and understanding of the world and encouraged me to be a part of its betterment. Were there any television programs you couldn’t stand to miss? What was it that made them a priority for you?

Making church attendance a priority has enriched my soul and the spirit within me in many of the same ways as my experiences with the other things I’ve found to be matters of great importance.

The feeling of community, the experience of music and arts, and scriptural learning and inspiration to further my discipleship all leaves me in anticipation for the next opportunity to worship at Shawnee St. Paul’s.

It is my hope that you are finding that same excitement and joy when you come to serve in mission with us or when you are present in worship at 10:45 on Sunday Mornings. There are many things coming up that you are not going to want to miss out on. I hope you’ll make your faith, spirituality, and church attendance a priority. We notice and we miss you when you’re away.

Tate Monroe
Director of Discipleship and Development
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