What happened to Church Attendance? is an analysis of what is happening in the lack of attendance and enthusiasm in attending church in our day.
For reference, I read this article, “Opting out of Sunday Service?” which made me think about the issues of this post.
This article cited above has these slides as their topics
1. There Are Too Many Judgmental People
2. They Were Hurt at Church
3. The Service Is Too Loud
4. There Were Too Many False Teachings
5. The Church Split
6. Their Schedule Is Too Busy
7. They Stopped Attending During the Pandemic
8. The Church Focused On Religion Over Relationship
9. The Church Became Too Focused on Money
10. They Have Social Anxiety
In this present post, I want to deal with some of these, and I will try to make future posts about the others.
What is “church” supposed to be about?
I think that a lot of problems that people have “with going to church” is simply that they do not understand why they should be going to church in the first. Then they don’t have a clue as to what they should be “getting out of church”.
The Bible positions “church” as a reunion of the redeemed of Christ in a locality. In order to understand this, we need to get a clear view of what the Bible declares. Every human being is either saved or lost. There is no other options. There are those who have confessed their sins to God, repented of them, and received Jesus Christ by faith. This reception of Jesus Christ is actually receiving Him as their Savior because of what He did on the Cross, but at the same time, Jesus is the moral pattern for them to follow. Every person alive is in a moral battle against sin and the Devil. Ascribing themselves to Christ is to say that their allegiance is to God and not to themselves, however they think, not to the world however it wants people to be, and not to Satan as he wills us to be.
If we understand our position before God as his children, then we understand that there is a great need in each person to dedicate himself to changing his life, and fighting this spiritual fight. God has not left us orphans in this fight. God has given us the example of Jesus Christ, and John’s exhortation in
John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
This verse basically sets the moral example of Jesus Christ as foremost in our minds, and we should follow the guide of Christ’s example.
Also, God has placed the seal of the Holy Spirit indwelling in our bodies and lives to help guide and empower us. God has given us the Word of God as a manual to our Christian lives. But moreover than these things, God has placed groups of believers in local communities that meet every Sunday to allow these above spiritual forces to more strongly affect us and help us. The church is where God’s trained and endowed servants come together in order to make God’s power applied to Christians individually.
We go to church because that is where Christians with God’s spiritual gifts “do their thing.” To not got to church is to drain the spiritual power that God wants to give you out of your life forever. The consequences can only be bad. Nothing good comes from “not going to church”. You think God would know this and command us clearly to go to church. Well, He did.
The Command to go to Church
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.
There is a very strong obligation upon EVERY CHRISTIAN to provoke their fellow Christian to love and good works. In this context, God commands us to go to church. But study the passage carefully. He does not say, “Go to church”, but not to forsake the assembling of yourselves together. Some people almost automatically do not want anything else to do with other Christians. That 1) shows their misunderstanding of this verse, 2) shows their disobedience to this verse and in general toward God. 3) shows their lack of spirituality. 4) possibly shows that they are not even saved.
But the obligation to go every Sunday is seen here. Comes Sunday morning, the Christian should make the habit for himself or herself to be in church. I want to make the following points, though. 1) “Going” to church and sitting there inattentive, sleeping, or not participating is not what this is about. We are to assemble ourselves (and according to the context) in order to provoke love, do good works, exhort one another. 2) It is God’s house, and the foundation of going to church, no, not going to church but participating and engaging in church, is to worship God. Worshiping God has to be explained. There absolutely has to be an oral reading of the Words of the Word of God, the Bible, and then an explanation given in order to make those words understood, and then an application and exhortation has to be made of the moral principles in the passage to the lives of those present. That is worship. If a church has a public service but doesn’t do that, they are a great failure. 3) Satan highly dislikes this activity. He does everything he possibly can in order to disrupt this and make the activity ineffective.
Satan’s tactics and our response.
We are to understand Satan’s tactics, and the bottom line here is that he wants to keep you from going to church, and if you do go to church, he wants to ruin your experience at church. He uses “false Christians” to do that. I do not want to get into whether these people are really saved or not. That is not the point. Satan uses even truly saved people to do his bidding many times. But according to our Lord’s instructions in Matthew 13:24-30, the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, it is not up to us to discern who is saved from who is not. We can see a lot of marks of a saved person and those who are not saved in Scripture, but the “rooting out” of these people is damaging to the church. We preach the truth, and make the unsaved and the disobedient uncomfortable, and refute outright false doctrine and condemn and exhort sinning “brethren” to correct their lives, but we do not forcibly remove these people from the church.
1. There Are Too Many Judgmental People
- Okay, so people want to hold up a moral standard and want you to abide by that standard. Firstly, just ignore them. Actually, there are an awful lot of people who want to tell you what to do. You have no obligation to obey them. You obey God first and foremost, and let these people just be ignored by you. Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. There is a tremendous problem in the spiritual world of people who obey man’s opinions (what is in vogue among people) and ignore God’s commandments. Some people find “church” not fashionable. So ignore them.
What happened to Church? Attendance