We live at a time in history when Church attendance is on a steady decline. The amazing part of that statement is that the number of people who claim to be Christians seem to be on the incline. At least in my area of the world that is true. More people claiming faith and yet fewer people attending Church each week seems to be contradictory.
Over the last week I read three articles about Church attendance and how it affects your faith and your family. While I agree with the articles in general, I did see one flaw in each of them. All of the posts were written by preachers. I mean, of course preachers care about attendance, after all, it is a reflection of their work and career. I can hear the people saying right now, “preachers have too much bias to write these articles.”
So I want to say something as a preacher, “I don’t care about your Church attendance.”
Now before you say a hearty “Amen” and stop reading, please let me explain myself.
*I don’t care about your Church attendance, but I do care deeply about your worship of God.
I think each and every believer needs to set aside time to give their praise and honor to God. They need times of prayer and communion. They need time to vocalize the joy they are feeling or the pain they are struggling with in their life.
*I don’t care about your Church attendance, but I do care deeply about your spiritual growth.
I think each person of faith needs to read deeply and reflect on the word of God found in the Bible. They need to understand new things and be challenged to live more deeply for God. They need to hear difficult things explained and have their viewpoints challenged. They need to learn while trying to apply their knowledge to life.
* I don’t care about your Church attendance, but I do care deeply about your connection to other believers.
We are not created to live alone, nor are we created to believe alone. We need friendships with people who care about us emotionally and spiritually. We need people to question us and challenge us. We need other members of faith to pray for us and help us when we are hurting. We need people to support, love, encourage, dream and stand beside us.
* I don’t care about your Church attendance, but I do care deeply about your service to God.
I firmly believe that God created each of us with unique gifts and abilities. He then expects us to use those gifts to further his kingdom and bless the lives of others. He equips us to help others in their walk of faith. He gives us the tools to be salt and light in the lives of others.
*I don’t care about your Church attendance, but I do care deeply about you sharing the good news with other people.
The world is full of hurting people. They need to hear the message of grace explained. They are desperate for a chance to start over in Jesus. They are searching for some way to rid themselves of their mistakes, failures and regrets. They want purpose and meaning instead of despair. They need someone to tell them about Jesus and teach them the truth of scripture.
I don’t care about your Church attendance, but I do care deeply about your relationship with God. I want you to worship and learn and grow and serve and share. I do not know of any other way to do all of these things than through a local gathering called the Church. Sure, you may be able to do one or two of these on your own, but I believe you need the Church to live completely for Jesus.
I do not desire for anyone to attend Church to make me happy. I do not desire for people to attend Church out of mere obligation. I want people to attend Church so that they can live the life God desires for them. If I thought there was another way, I would be the first to sign up.