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The Number One Reason People Attend Church

What’s the number one reason people go to church? Is it the music? Is it incredible children’s ministries? Is it various social activities provided? To these questions, the answer is “no.” The number one reason why people go to church is…(drum roll please)…preaching centered on the Bible.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 82 percent of protestants said sermons that teach about Scripture were their number one reason for attending church. I find this to be wonderfully encouraging!

I am encouraged by this for a couple reasons:

People are Hungry

It might be easy to think that we need to reach and keep people by being the coolest church in town or that our contemporary methods will be what draws people. While we should do our best to contextualize our methods, we must allow people to feast on the Word of God. As Matt Woodley says, “In a distracted, outraged, shallow culture, people begin to hunger for something rare: the focused, balanced, deep…preaching is our best chance to change lives.”

The Bible Drives What We Do

One of our core values at Grace is that we are Bible-Driven and Spirit-Led. This means that the foundation for all we do is centered in Scripture. Our preaching is through Scripture because we believe it’s God’s authoritative Word for us. We don’t just preach our own ideas and hobby horses, but God’s plan of salvation for life and obedience. Preaching the Bible is what our church has been about since its conception and it’s what we will be about until the Lord returns.

Considering the fact that the sermon is a primary reason for church attendance, what can we do as a congregation to get the most out of the sermon? I’m glad you asked! Now I will offer several ideas for getting the most out of the sermon:

Pray

Pray for yourself. Pray that God would give you attentive ears to hear. Pray that the Holy Spirit would convict you of sin. Pray that your love and affection for Jesus would grow. Pray for your pastor. Pray that the Spirit would use him. Pray that he would be clear. Pray that he would be confident. Pray that the Lord would teach him. (As an aside, I’m so thankful for Pastor Mike and his faithfulness to preach the Word. We are served well by him.)

Bring Your Bible and Follow Along

I’m not going to give a long rant about digital Bibles, but I do think it’s best if you have a physical Bible and follow along with the preacher. Having the text on the screen can be helpful for cross-referencing purposes, but following along in your own copy of the Scriptures will help focus your attention and allow you to get more out of the sermon.

Take Notes

Everyone is a little different, but taking notes generally helps people follow a message. Don’t get bogged down trying to write down everything, but jotting down a few main points will really help you.

I’m thankful to be part of a church that takes preaching and the Bible very seriously. May God, by His grace, use the preached Word to grant us new life and new affection for Jesus.

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Zac Hess joined the pastoral staff in 2013 after serving as an intern during his seminary studies. He grew up on a farm in Ashland, OH and later met his wife, Sarah, who grew up as part of Grace Polaris Church. Zac pursued biblical studies at both Grace College and Grace Theological Seminary. He loves sports, the outdoors, reading, and a good cup of coffee. Zac and Sarah are the proud parents of Jacob and Caroline.


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One Response

  1. Liz Bookheimer says:

    Zac, I appreciated your comment about electronic Bibles. I was enthusiastic about my iPad Bible when I first got it but soon realized that I missed being able to underline and take notes in my physical Bible. Additionally, it helps to see what I wrote during a previous study of that same passage. Some of my favorites are references I made while studying in the Holy Land. Mental pictures of the actual places are priceless.

    Blessings to you.

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