As I type this, my heart is heavy.
I am very concerned.
There is a current trend that is shaping the next generation of followers of Jesus Christ.
What is it? Church attendance.
Just typing the words, “Church attendance” seems incredibly legalistic to me, but it is incredibly poignant at this time in our church culture. I know that you can’t “go to church” because you “are the church”; but, according to scripture, the church is supposed to gather together. Sam Rainer, lead pastor of West Bradenton (FL) Baptist Church and president of Church Answers states, “A phenomenon is impacting churches across the United States. . . . Most churches . . . are experiencing a decrease in attendance frequency. Today an active (church) member is considered someone who comes twice a month.” With this trend becoming fact, we must address church attendance headstrong and look not only at the causes or remedies, but more importantly, go back to scripture for the “WHY” church attendance is so important.
In Hebrews 10:24-25 the author encourages, “Let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.”And in Acts 2:42,46 Luke wrote, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.. . Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house.” These two passages plus many others in the Bible encourage regular weekly and even daily church attendance or gathering together. In our church culture today, we have simply ignored this and taken church attendance for granted. At our church, if you come to worship and a small group on Sunday mornings and our fellowship meal and your choice of Bible Studies on a Wednesday night, you would only be giving 4-5 hours of your time per week. How much TV do you watch per week? How much time do you spend on personal hobbies or hanging out with friends? It seems that Satan is using “Good things” to get us away from “God things!”
PLEASE– Do not get me wrong. This is not about you jumping through some “Holy Hoops” that provide righteousness. It is about us simply being obedientto meet together. There are some incredible benefits from being together that include; encouragement of togetherness, new and great ministry brainstorming, and divine community that can only be attained with other believers (In Matthew 18:20 we see that, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.” Before you argue that the context here is conflict resolution, the context here is clearly within the relationships in the church.).
So, before your children and your children’s children just do not care about church or attending church, please evaluate your habits, adjust your hobbies, set your alarm, and make sure that you are . . . “not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing.” My prayer is that you see and hear my heart, not condemnation or judging anyone, that is not my place. I am just thankful to be a part of the body of Christ and when you are not here, you are desperately missed!
Hope to see you soon at church!