The Best Day of the Week

Five Reasons I Love Sunday

Early one Sunday morning, I walked into my two-year-old daughter’s bedroom and scooped her up out of bed. She was barely awake. As I carried her over to the changing table, I whispered, “Baby girl, today we get to go to church.”

Her eyes lit up, she let out a big gasp, and she shouted, “Scottie, Elise, William, Rowan?” I responded, “Yes, you’re going to see your friends today.” “Dada, I love church!” she said. “Yeah, baby girl, me too.”

Obviously, my daughter doesn’t fully understand why we regularly meet as a local church, but she gets the excitement. She has tasted how sweet it is when Christians gather to worship.

Why I Love Sundays

For many years, I’ve been known for saying that Sundays are my favorite day of the week. As a pastor, I’ve said this to my congregation repeatedly. Why do I love Sundays? It’s quite simple: Sunday is the day that I get to worship with my church family — my dear friends who love the God I love.

We don’t need a specific time or space to worship, of course. We can pray alone. We can read the Bible by ourselves. We can engage in various helpful spiritual disciplines in solitude.

However, there are elements of the Christian life that you simply cannot experience alone. Don Whitney puts it this way: “Christianity is not an isolationist religion. . . . There’s an element of worship in Christianity that cannot be experienced in private worship or by watching worship” (Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, 43–44). This is why the author of Hebrews exhorts us to prioritize our gathering together (Hebrews 10:24–25).

Sunday worship gatherings have been a big deal to Christians for a very long time. They were normal for the earliest Christians (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10) and were important to the second and third generations as well (Didache 14.1; First Apology of Justin Martyr 67).

I’m thankful that many contemporary Christians gather each Sunday for worship and fellowship. However, I worry that many believers lack the appropriate enthusiasm, attending church services largely out of obligation. I long for God’s people to enthusiastically anticipate the unique sweetness of gathering with God’s people week after week. I love Sundays, and here are five reasons why I think you should love Sundays too.

1. We get a taste of glory.

I love Sundays because they give me the best glimpse of the new Jerusalem.

One day, Christ will return, and we will live together in that glorious city, the new Jerusalem. When we think about this city, we might think about geography or location, about streets of gold or structures made of jasper. But that misses the main point.

The new Jerusalem is primarily a community, a people perfected by the work of Christ, enjoying his greatness and beauty together. When that day comes, all of God’s people will be permanently gathered. We will live in perfect harmony, enjoying one another and treasuring Christ together forever and ever.

The local church offers a sneak peek. Every Sunday when we gather, we’re seeing some of what the future holds. We are not yet perfected by Christ, but we are being perfected (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18). Each Sunday, the church is a little bit more like Jesus than we were when we gathered last week. And if our Lord permits, we will be a little bit more like him next week. Each week, I get a better picture of the glory that is to come.

“Sunday is the day that I get to worship with my church family — my dear friends who love the God I love.”

In the Old Testament, if a person wanted to be near the presence of God, he or she would go toward the tabernacle (or, later, the temple). The tabernacle was God’s dwelling place on earth. But today, God dwells with his church. Puritan writer Richard Sibbes says the church is “the tabernacle now” in this age. “Particular visible churches under particular pastors [are] where the means of salvation are set up. Particular visible churches now are God’s tabernacle” (A Breathing After God, 54).

2. We see spiritual gifts on display.

I love Sundays because they put God’s spiritual gifts on display.

God has gifted each Christian with spiritual abilities (Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Peter 4:10), and he means for them to build up the body. Some spiritual gifts manifest in informal settings, but others are best and most often displayed within the context of corporate worship gatherings.

When I walk into our church building and I’m greeted by Joyce, I see her gift of hospitality. As Garrett leads our music ministry, I see his gift of exhortation. As our kids participate in Sunday school, I see Jim’s gift of teaching. When the elements of our service run smoothly, I see Phil’s gift of administration. After the service, when I have a brief conversation in the foyer with a few members of our church, and they tell me about the meal train that came to them that week, I see gifts of mercy and giving on display.

Sunday is not the only day spiritual abilities are at work, but Sunday is the day when I get to see the gifts on clearest display.

3. We hear much-needed teaching.

I love Sundays because I love hearing God’s word faithfully taught by a pastor who knows and loves his congregation.

God has gifted his church with teachers to serve and bless the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11–12). As Whitney writes, “Bible reading and preaching are central in public worship because they are the clearest, most direct, most extensive presentation of God in the meeting” (Spiritual Disciplines, 42).

Certainly, we can find good teaching in other contexts, but nothing can equal a sermon preached by your local pastor, carefully tailored for your particular congregation.

I have spoken to many pastors about how their relationships with congregants shape their sermons. Often, as a pastor prepares, the faces of his people keep coming to mind. Why? Because the pastor knows his people. He knows their stories. He knows their struggles. He knows the unique temptations they face. That knowledge of his congregation shapes the sermon he crafts for them.

Faithful teaching from a pastor who knows and loves his people is the most nourishing diet a believer can consume.

4. We experience spiritual growth.

I love Sundays because on them I experience great spiritual growth.

Spiritual growth is wrought by the Spirit of God. We cannot control it or manufacture it. However, spiritual growth happens most often — and most intensely — in those moments when we come face-to-face with the goodness and beauty of Christ. So if we intentionally put ourselves in positions and places where we are more likely to see the majesty of Jesus, then we are more likely to experience spiritual growth.

Therefore, we sing, we hear testimonies, we confess our sins, we revel in the gospel, we sit under faithful teaching, and we participate in the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Table. And in no context are we more likely to encounter those types of activities than when Christians gather on Sundays.

5. We remember we’re not alone.

I love Sundays because they remind me that many others believe what I believe and follow the one I follow.

Life can be hard and lonely. The cares of this world have the potential to exhaust us. And in a society that often celebrates evil and believes in lies, during the week it can feel like you’re the crazy one. But come Sunday, when I gather with believers for worship, I’m reminded I’m not alone, and I’m energized.

In the Old Testament, Elijah experienced deep discouragement and distress. He felt alone, as if he were the only person left in Israel serving God. But God assured Elijah that there were still seven thousand people who worshiped the one true God, and he was greatly encouraged (1 Kings 19:18). The same happens within us when we gather. We are greatly encouraged, refreshed, and energized.

Sunday Is Coming

This list certainly is not exhaustive. There are more good and godly reasons to enthusiastically look forward to Sunday worship gatherings.

God pours out so many beautiful blessings on those who gather faithfully with their local church. Even now, as I think about those blessings, my anticipation and excitement for Sunday is building.

Praise God, Sunday is coming!