Attendance and the Mission Church is an opinion piece about the problem of attendance and our churches in Christianity.
Why is church attendance important?
God designed the church, and His design is perfect. It is man that messes up “church” so as to make it unattractive to the Christian. But this goes deeper than that.
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
So we need to understand a few common and obvious points about “church”.
- God created the church for His purposes (to do the work of the Lord).
- “Church” is essential in God’s plans.
- “Church” benefits those who attendance and participate in it as God intended.
- Substitutes for church (social clubs) hurt the church and those saints that are distracted by these things.
- Bad churches are Satan’s plan to destroy God’s people by preventing them from the benefit God envisioned in his “church”.
The bottom line here is that there are supposed to be good spiritual things happening in our church services, and spiritually, those Christians who do not regularly attend and participate in their church, they are hurting their own spiritual lives. The issue here is two way. Both they are lacking something, and they should be ministering to others for their own spiritual rewards in heaven, but they are not doing so.
Thomas was not there when Jesus first appeared to the disciples after his resurrection. He did not believe his brethren that Jesus was alive. His lack of witnessing Christ at that moment is wholly on his lack of attending this meeting of the brethren. How many other Christians today likewise fall under the condemnation of God because they do not believe, they do not live correctly their Christian lives because they are not putting forth their part in this?
Some years back we had a family that came occasionally and mostly not. They had young people. We had a teens Sunday School class that their teens should have been in. But they never came to that class. When their parents came, they sat in the main services with their parents. With time, one of them got involved in sin, (teenage daughter got pregnant) and the parents came to church the next Sunday (without her because they had lost her by that time), but they were going to give the pastor a what’s for because the church didn’t address these issues for teens, and they as parents were crying now.
When they accosted me, I was in the back of the church greeting people as they left. I stopped them in their tracks and grabbed a few of our materials that I had at the back. These were teen Sunday School classes we had given recently. They were on keeping yourself pure sexually, not cohabiting, etc. As a church we did our duty, but as a parent they fell on their faces. They tried to blame us. I am sorry as can be about their daughter, but if the parents don’t even see it important enough for them to come, it is unlikely their children will take the spiritual priority because the parents never had it.
Covid and Church
It is really sad to see how the Covid health crisis has done destruction on the church of God. As a pastor of 35+ years, I have commented to my church and my wife many times, any excuse to not come to church will do for people. If it is rainy out, they cannot come. If it is sunny, then they don’t want to “lose advantage of the day” and they have to go to a park or go out to eat with friends instead of going to church. To the majority of those claiming to be saints, any excuse serves to stay out of church.
But Hebrews 10:25 implies that it should be our habit to constantly “BE IN CHURCH”. I disagree with part of that statement. Hebrews 10:25 is not talking about church attendance, but rather participation in church. We are to exhort and edify one another in love as a constant habit. You cannot do that unless you are present in church, so I accept the statement as is, but I have seen so many people come in after the sermon has begun (as their habit is), be distracted with looking at their cell phones or doing something with their children, or day dreaming, and then there are those that sleep during church. I give a pass to one man in our church that sometimes sleeps in the service because he works in a hospital and gets off at 6 AM but is in Sunday School and church. He worked through the night, so I applaud him that even so, he goes home, sleeps an hour and then comes to church.
Today, as a pastor, I find myself constantly urging our people to be faithful to attend and participate in our services, but also telling some who are sick not to come. Log in to our Internet channel and watch from home. Covid has made it very apparent that some of our supposed “saints” just have no interest in the church, and even less in fellowshiping with their brethren. That is so sad.
Satan has made it so easy to not obey God. Our “people” fall into his traps so quickly and have so much difficulty getting out of them.
Attendance and the Mission Church