What do you consider faithful attendance in church worship? It is amazing how the view of church attendance has changed over the last few decades. When I was a child church attendance was integral to life in our family. We didn’t skip church except during the yearly vacation or when we were sick. I remember times when we were not able to attend, and it left a hollow, empty feeling, like we had missed something.
Contemporary church goers seem to have a different view. Studies show that people today see themselves as regular attenders of church if they attend only one church service per month. We also see a major decline in Sunday evening and mid-week prayer services. So, what is the answer? How should we view church attendance as followers of Jesus Christ?
Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” The author sees the importance of gathering together as a part of the fellowship of the church. How do you encourage your church family and stir one another to good works if you do not meet together regularly? Each Sunday we gather together as an encouragement to one another through relationships and building one another up. It is also an encouragement to stand strong in your faith as we do so together, as a believing body.
Another reason we should desire to gather together each week is for spiritual growth. It is abundantly clear that many people who claim faith in Jesus Christ, today, have a hard time defending or sharing their faith. The reason is because many do not know the word of God and have not taken the time to learn about their faith. Growing spiritually requires setting aside regular time for worship and sitting under the word of God in order to learn it. This happens both in worship and in Sunday school. Regular attenders to these services of the church are much more likely to understand and apply their faith, which ultimately means a more joyful faith.
We also come together as the body of Christ. That is such an important part of our faith. When Christ ascended to heaven, after the resurrection period, he left people of the church, indwelt by His Spirit, to be his hands and feet and to carry out His mission on earth. We gather together to be commissioned each week. Can you imagine a platoon of soldiers being sent out on the field of battel without a mission and specific instructions on how to carry out the mission so that they could act as one body? Neither should the Christ body be made up of scattered individuals who are all simply doing their own thing. We gather together to work together and carry out the mission of Christ.
Lastly, we gather together honor God. Each worship service is a time to corporately acknowledge the amazing plan of salvation and the sacrifice that Christ became on our behalf. It is impossible to ever repay our God for the love and work that He has poured out for us. But, we must try. It is our greatest privilege and obligation to gather together to glorify our God and Savior. He is worth it!
So, what keeps you from faithful attendance in worship. Let’s be honest, most of the excuses we have our not good ones. We must faithfully commit ourselves to take up our place in the body of Christ. We shouldn’t let the things of this world so easily turn us aside from the faithful worship of God. Make that commitment.
Let me make one last, personal note about this issue. Today is the last day of pastor appreciation month. There is no greater way to show appreciation for your pastors than to be of a part of the church that God has called us to lead. It is painful to look around the sanctuary and see so many who are not faithful attenders. We are called to love you, serve you, and even miss you when you are not there. You can bet we do because we love you. Encourage us by your faithful attendance. In so doing you will be supporting our call as shepherds as we seek to gather you and lead you.