There’s been a lot said in Christian blogs and magazines recently about the drop in church attendance in America. There has a been a very slight drop in the percentage of people who attend on a regular basis. But the biggest drop nationally is in the frequency of attenders––25% less. In other words, people who would have attended every week a generation ago, attend three out of four weeks today. People who attended three out of four, attend half the time today.
How often did you miss church this summer? Some of you, a lot. I don’t mean a couple of times. I mean six times, eight times even more. And quite frankly, I don’t get it.
I get it if you don’t claim to be follower of Jesus. Why would anyone be expected to go to church if they are not genuinely Christian?
And I get that there’s a lot to do on weekends. There are cookouts, family to visit, birthday parties, splash pads and the zoo to go to. But when something is really important to us, when it’s a priority, we figure out a way to do those things around that priority. Does only showing up when nothing else is going on really say, “I love Jesus with all my heart”?
For parents, is this really the message you want your kids to receive? Church: it’s not really that important.
I understand getting away is important. I love family days in the woods. I know about the importance of getting away with the kids. Rest and family time are both big deals.
But even more so is faithfulness to God and his church, and teaching our kids that He matters more than anything.
Here are Four Reasons Weekly Church Involvement Should Be Every Christian’s Priority:
• God says it should be (Hebrews 10:25). That should be all we need to say about the matter. If the Bible tells Christians that they need to attend church weekly, then all of us who claim to be Christians need to attend church weekly. Right? Is God’s Word our authority or not? Or do we listen to what God says only when it fits into our schedules? Shouldn’t he be the center of those schedules? I know it’s often said that you don’t have to go to church to worship God. But He didn’t say that. He made going to church a pretty big deal. Shouldn’t we?
• The Church is the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). You can’t separate Jesus from his Body. I know, going to church doesn’t make you a Christian. But if you are a Christian, you are in the Body of Christ. Does it matter to you that your absence or lack of involvement makes Jesus’ body unhealthy (1 Corinthians 12:14–20)? If you love Jesus, you will love his body. And real love is commitment. If you only show up when it’s convenient, as opposed to making it the priority it should be, you are not really committed to it. In that case, your claim to love Jesus can sound pretty empty to him (John 14:15).
• The Church is the Family of God (1 Timothy 3:15). You’ve been called to encourage, inspire, serve and show love to your fellow family members (Romans 12:10, Ephesians 4:32, 1 John 4:12, Hebrews 3:13, Hebrews 10:24, Galatians 5:13). That’s not happening if you are rarely with them.
• We are creatures of habit. It’s why the author of Hebrews told his readers to not fall into the trap of getting into the habit of skipping church. Instead, make it your weekend habit––that church is something that we do––every weekend. If you have something that’s going that takes up your whole day on Sunday, go Saturday night. If you’ve got something going on Saturday and then again Sunday, come to the 9a service and pop over afterward. I know there are weekends that you are traveling, but what a great opportunity to drop in and visit other brothers and sisters in another church where you are visiting. The point is this, the things that matter most to us are worked into our regular routine. Being in church should be the cornerstone of every Christian’s weekend routine. Make it your habit, your family habit. The thing that’s so important to you, that you make it happen every week, and when you miss, its a rarity, rather than the norm.
Ok, I know I made some of you mad and I feel bad about that. I’m your pastor and I love you. I care about your spiritual condition and your walk with God. And I want to see you on the weekends!