Recently during a fun Q&A with Mrs. Johnson, Daniel Fitzgerald asked me questions submitted by members of NorthStone Baptist Church. One of the questions was, "What do you miss the most about not being able to gather in person with the church family?"
I gave my answer then but, allow me to elaborate. There is one thing that I miss the most, but before I tell you what that one thing is, I’ve got to say that there are several things that I sincerely miss...
I miss the congregational singing. Our church is blessed with many terrific musicians. I miss singing with our congregation, gospel-heavy songs like "Jesus Paid It All,” and “There is a Fountain.”
I miss hearing our church choir. I miss seeing our choir director lead them and I miss the rich Bible truths that they so enthusiastically sing.
I miss handshake time at our church. I miss being able to greet my brothers and sisters in Christ in a fun and friendly way.
I miss restocking our church tract rack. I know many in our church family are finding creative ways to be evangelistic in this pandemic, but now it’s considered more socially unacceptable than ever to hand somebody a gospel tract. Unfortunately, our tract racks are full and I miss the routine of restocking them.
But, the thing I miss the most about not being able to assemble is the spiritual gifts of God’s people.
Before this pandemic, every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night, I would benefit from the ministry gifts, the teaching gifts, the exhorting gifts, the wisdom, and the brotherly love of our church family.
Live stream "church” is a blessing at a time like this, but this pandemic has robbed us of being able to benefit from the spiritual gifts of one another.
There is a rich value in the spiritual gifts of a local faith family. Can I say it this way? There is an "essential” spiritual strengthening that only comes from assembling with a church family.
And, sometimes we don’t realize how important the spiritual gifts of others are, until they’re not there anymore.
Right now, because churches are not able to assemble, there is a "schism in the body;” a separation, a split, a division.
First Corinthians 12 explains that the church is one body, but many members. The eye needs the hand, and the head needs the feet.
Through live stream, church members are able to benefit from their pastor’s gifting as a preacher, at least to some degree. But, Godly church members understand that live stream, though a blessing, is still not the same as hearing God's Word preached in person.
And, while those Godly church members are desiring to hear their pastor preach in person, at the same time, many Godly pastor friends of mine are starving for the spiritual gifts represented in their church family.
So, to answer the original question, it’s the spiritual gifts of our church family that I’ve missed the most throughout the pandemic.
And, believe me, I’m excited to see how God will bless when local church families are able to gather again in person. May we never take for granted the spiritual gifts of our brothers & sisters in Christ.
This devotion was written by Pastor James C. Johnson. These devotions are being published through this pandemic in an effort to further strengthen the faith of our NorthStone church family. Feel free to comment below to offer your feedback about today's devotion.