‘Ecclesiology’

Thoughts on Church Attendance

November 8th, 2010

It’s a good time for me to post this since the members of The Point have been attending church very faithfully lately :-).

I absolutely do not want people attending out of pressure, guilt, because of what others might think, or what the pastor might say.
I would rather people consider instead the spirit of the matter, not the legalism of it.  I feel it’s a good time because our people are doing well in this area, so you’ll know I’m not trying to guilt anyone out by sharing this! 

In the New Testament, Hebrews 10:24-25 states:

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

A short “rabbit trail” about the Sabbath.

This discussion is not one about the Sabbath, but the association may come up for you, so let me offer a few brief thoughts.  If you want a more complete discussion of the sabbath, post a comment below.

Keeping the Sabbath is the 3rd commandment.  I do understand that church attendance is not the same as “keeping the Sabbath”; and it is true we are not under law but under grace.  Yet, I don’t know any Christian who argues that it’s ok to violate the other 9 commandments on the basis of “we’re not under law anymore”.  In addition, keeping the Sabbath has many underlying principles which are of benefit to us, regardless of the technical, legal details which were given to Israel and not to us.
God himself certainly has no need of being legalistic or bound to any law, yet He Himself demonstrated the Sabbath principle on the seventh day of creation.
Incidentally, the first two commandments are: have no other gods before me and don’t take the Lord’s name in vain.  If we do these first two, this third one is easier.  If we aren’t doing the third, are we really doing the first two?

I don’t believe we must follow the Mosaic legal code regarding the Sabbath, (which, by the way, called for the stoning of anyone who violated it!).  However, I do believe God knew what he was doing and had wise principles in mind when setting up this law.

Some Questions about Church Attendance:
(be honest!)

  • What do you believe about the Sabbath, or a day of rest?
  • Are your actions consistent with that belief?
  • Do your actions agree with the “spirit of the law”?
  • How frequently do the “just this once” diversions really occur for you?  Be honest, what does your attendance record really look like?  What sorts of things replaced this sacred time?
  • How will you hear what the Lord so lovingly prepared through the diligence of his workers if you aren’t present?
  • How will others receive the benefit of your presence if you are not present?
  • If you are not giving the Lord the firstfruits of the week, what are you giving him during the week?
  • If we can’t figure out how to give Him something so small, in obedience to Him, are we really giving Him anything?
  • At the same time, what are we still expecting from Him?
  • Is it really that hard to schedule around such a small window of time – only 2hrs, and it’s consistently scheduled week-in and week out?

The Beauty of God’s Design

When we obey God in this matter, trust Him with our time and give it to Him faithfully, He rewards us with many benefits.  Here are some of them.

  • The Lord has something for the body from you every single Sunday Even a “warm body” can still raise the temperature of the room!
  • The Lord has something for you every single Sunday!
  • Ephesians 4:16 “…Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
  • The workers/volunteers are especially energized when you are blessed!
  • Celebrations are more enjoyable when everyone is there!
  • A crowd draws a crowd
  • Visitors want to be part of a living/breathing vibrant ministry
    • This is true regardless of size! Raw numbers do not matter here, but the % participation does.  A church of 5000 with only 2500 in attendance is not fully alive and visitors will know it.  A church of 50 with only 25 in attendance is half dead and people will sense it!

Whatever your track record, make a committment today to make some extra time for the Lord this coming Sunday.  If you come for the sermon but not the Bible study, you are missing a big part of church life.  If you come to church but immediately leave to get back to your busy life, you are missing out on God’s principle of rest and recovery.  If you are faithful in all these areas, praise the Lord!  Keep up the good work and tell others why you think it’s worth it!

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