Shepherds’ Notes

People often tell me that they want to get more out of church or that they want to feel more deeply connected to members. Maybe you are one of those people. Maybe you just don’t know how to get plugged in. Try using these steps to grow deeper in your connection with and commitment to your church family.

Attend Regularly. You will not develop strong connections within your church by showing up to services once or twice per month. You need to attend regularly and often. The writer to the Hebrews urged his readers, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Be a Friend. Serve someone else. The church doesn’t exist only so that you can receive ministry and blessing from it, but so that you can minster to and bless others. Look for people who could benefit from your service and serve them. You will find that as you serve others, you begin to feel more closely connected to your church.

Prepare for worship. If your worship services feel dry, maybe it is because you are dry and ill-prepared to worship. Before you criticize the preacher’s preaching, consider whether or not you have prayed for his preaching. Have you prepared your heart to worship? You can prepare for worship by praying ahead of time and by meditating on the upcoming sermon text throughout the week.

Remember, sometimes church is messy. Churches are gatherings of people and people are imperfect. When you seek to be a part of Walter Hill remember that members can be messy and so are you. Someone is going to offend you or hurt your feelings. If you will commit to working through those hard feelings when they arise, then you will have a chance to grow through the hardship.

Invest and invite. If you really want to take the ultimate step in deepening your connection with Walter Hill, begin evangelizing today. As you invest in others and invite them to church, you can celebrate the way that God uses His church to disciple your friends. Nothing will cause you to appreciate your church more than watching a new believer be baptized, discipled, and welcomed into your faith family.

Arrive early and stay late. The ministry that takes place in the margins of your life is sometimes the most important ministry of all. Get there early enough to help and visit. Stay late enough to listen to a couple who is burdened over the decisions of their adult children. Stay late enough to watch the kids get grass stains on their Sunday pants while playing with other kids in the church yard, because those grass stains are shared experiences that help you to build community with others around you. When you take your time leaving church, you say to those around you, “Hey, I want to be here and I want to spend time with you.”