Please Help Provide Clean Water to Persecuted Christians

What Is the Importance of Attending Church Meetings?

At the end of a church meeting or some other business meeting, we know how to pray for our leaders. I hope the people of Christ are united and mutually encouraged, refueled with hope in the purposes, the power, and the person of Christ.

Contributing Writer
Published Mar 02, 2023
Plus
What Is the Importance of Attending Church Meetings?

The chair of our church’s annual general meeting (AGM) quipped, “this is riveting stuff,” to a wave of laughter. An AGM or an update meeting can be dull, so why come out on a cold and snowy night to take part? Why skip your regular sporting commitment or movie night with your spouse in order to attend? Here are five reasons why it’s important to go.

1. Members and Fellowship

How many people do you know who are honorary members of some club? They don’t actually attend meetings. Maybe they contribute financially but do not participate physically.

Remind you of anything? Perhaps that idea of a pantheistic god who set the world in motion but isn’t involved in the lives of his people?

There is no such god, and there can be no such membership where the church is concerned. We follow Christ in all of his ways, including his commitment to participation. The church is not a “club” but a body, a family. Think of an AGM the way you might consider a family meeting.

“It is impossible for man to worship God properly without His involvement first.” David C. Grabbe describes a God who is involved in the lives of his people. That’s the model we emulate.

Jesus encouraged believers to gather, for “if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:19-20).

2. Participants Learn Stuff

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you (Hebrews 13:17).

If members of the family want to contribute to the discussion later, they need the right information. AGMs are information sessions featuring details about ministry initiatives, budgeting, and also challenges the church is facing. Decisions are made here, such as whether or not to start or scrap a certain fundraising program.

Your church newsletter can be a source of information too, but it’s not the same. In every one of the last five AGMs I’ve attended as a member, a discussion has always gone deeper than the regular newsletter.

The views raised and their tone has told me a lot about where my church is at spiritually; that they have trusted the leadership or what the leadership needed to pray against.

For instance, there was always someone who argued against supporting refugees because they thought we should focus on the needs in our local community.

I learned about our church’s commitment to helping refugees and reaching lost people in the community simultaneously and heard how these goals were to be achieved.

Moreover, by way of these interactions, I heard why our church does what it does. “Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow” (Deuteronomy 27:19).

I enjoyed a deeper look at our pastors’ commitment to Christ and the authority of his Word in their lives.

3. Conflict and Grace

I’m aware that this doesn’t happen in every church, but our pastors and board members have always addressed conflict with patience, calm, and grace.

When questioned, they responded, but they did not react. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

I learned a lot about healthy conflict resolution and biblical methods of confrontation by watching the church deal with conflict openly, humbly, and peacefully.

Jesus described the measures we should take when we have something against our brother (Matthew 18:15-17), and they begin with private discussion.

But at an AGM, those questions are often subtly brewing in the hearts and minds of other members of the congregation who are hesitant to raise them.

Thanks to courageous people, I’ve often heard my own questions voiced. Also, other members have thought of questions I had not considered, broadening my understanding of a given matter.

Usually, questions at our AGMs have had to do with money, so the discussion can be boring and over my head. And, yes, there are those who just stir up strife and need to stop talking.

A soft but unmistakable groan goes up as every person present shifts in their seats at the same time. Still, this is the time to nurture patience and respect. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22).

We trust our leaders to lead by patiently and kindly redirecting these kinds of people so the meeting can move on. If we don’t know if we can trust our leaders, the AGM is a good place to find out.

4. Accountability from Both Sides

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you (Hebrews 13:17).

The board of a church is required to host such meetings because pastors and other ministry leaders are spending the money tithed to them by congregants. They are stewards, accountable to us.

It is in our interests that they host these meetings to report on how they have spent that money and what the outcome of their investments has been. For example, if a fundraising campaign was started in order to build a church, how is construction going?

Meetings like these have sometimes revealed problems in churches where money has been siphoned by trusted individuals and spent on activities or items that the church had no knowledge of — until a budget was presented at the AGM and questions were asked. (Not at my church; our leaders have always stewarded our money with prayerful integrity.)

Members should be held accountable for uplifting their leaders. Board meetings require a lot of effort in compiling ministry statements, spending reports, and budget proposals.

Imagine looking out over a sea of chairs and spotting just a handful of faces from the hundred or even hundreds of people who could have made it out. Does anyone care about all the work our pastors do?

Or do church members just want their pastors to feed them Scripture every Sunday without themselves getting involved in the body?

This is the bare minimum level of involvement: sit there and listen. Our leadership team does a job that we should acknowledge — a tiring and sometimes discouraging job.

5. Encouraging the Body

Taking part is how we make the job of leadership “a joy and not a burden,” as the writer of Hebrews says. And believers need to be encouraged too. After all, the Spirit’s work is often invisible.

It can feel pointless to try to lead lost people to Christ. Are our youth groups and kids’ clubs merely a form of entertainment, or do young people come to know the Living God as their Savior?

Are church plants making a difference for the Kingdom? Are social justice issues being tackled and lives transformed? How is the church functioning in the community on a practical level?

We don’t do Kingdom work in order to get saved. We don’t do God’s work in order to impress people or give ourselves a pat on the back.

But it’s okay to want encouragement, and this is where you find it. Pastors of different ministry initiatives and church campuses tell the real human stories of lives impacted, and families becoming curious to know about Jesus.

And if the story is “we’re not seeing hearts transformed,” now is the time to talk about what went wrong. How can the church respond to this problem? What could we all be doing differently? How can we pray for our leaders and our communities?

Prayer for the Team

At the end of an AGM or some other business meeting, we know how to pray for our leaders. I’d bet that I’m not the only one who forgets to pray for the board of directors, the children’s programs, or the volunteers.

I was moved deeply by the presence of the Spirit amongst our church members at the recent AGM where we were unified as a church.

This is what Paul prayed for the body of believers: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).

I hope even at an AGM, the people of Christ are united and mutually encouraged, refueled with hope in the purposes, the power, and the person of Christ.

For further reading:

What Does Matthew 18 Say about Conflict Resolution Within the Church?

Does the Building Matter for a Church?

Is it True Where Two or Three Are Gathered Jesus Is There with Them?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/SDI Productions


Candice Lucey is a freelance writer from British Columbia, Canada, where she lives with her family. Find out more about her here.

Christianity / Church / What Is the Importance of Attending Church Meetings?