I find myself increasingly concerned about the lazy attitude of church members toward church attendance. Many reasons have been suggested as to why church attendance has become so lazy, but I want to focus on why church attendance is important. It seems, in my pastoral experience, any reason is good enough to miss a Sunday morning worship time. Feeling tired? Skip. Family time? Skip. Sports? Skip. Tough work week? Skip. Went to bed late on Saturday night? Skip. All the excuses lead to one conclusion: church doesn’t matter much to believers…and it shows in our mission.
1. God Commands Church Attendance. Some will argue that the New Testament church was nothing like the modern church. Those who argue such a thing are naïve to the New Testament church and hung up on procedure rather than on the Spirit. The first church gathered for worship regardless of their circumstances, and they gathered with great rejoicing. Hebrews 10:25 warns against forsaking the assembly of believers. Missing church is evidence of a serious spiritual defect. True, some churches are apostate and do not follow the scriptures, but that hardly explains why a believer does not find a church that does listen to God and preach the scripture.
2. Spiritual Maturity is Priority. Like it or not, the church is the primary community in which we gain spiritual maturity. The Lord ordained the church as the community for instruction in righteousness, confession, and mission. If we attended our jobs, school, or social functions with the same vigor as church, we would be fired, expelled, or de-friended. If spiritual maturity is a priority, gathering for worship with the community of God – with the church – will be a priority as well. Listening to God is more important than anything we could do. The faithful preaching and teaching of the Word should whet our appetite for God. Learning in the church is an expression of love for God’s Word.
3. You Need a Blessing. Acts 2:42 notes the consistent and active devotion the early church practiced toward one another. They experienced God among them as they helped one another and prayed together and listened to instruction together. Their time together was a blessing from God. Many go to church looking for a blessing to happen to them but are no invested in the work of the church. It is in the mission and constant attention to God that we receive the blessing of God. We have to cultivate the presence of God and the expectation of His Spirit. Going to church once a month and living the rest of the time for ourselves is hardly a pure attitude toward God. We need a blessing but we want it as a garnishment on our proud hearts. Consistent and prioritized church attendance produces the blessing that comes from those who are poor in spirit. We go to church needy and allow God to fill us over time.
Of course, I could mention many additional reasons why church attendance matters. I also assume that a believing family would be seeking a Bible teaching church rather than just going to a church around the corner that did not preach the Word. If you find yourself among those who has made excuses for not attending church, the way home is through repentance. Find a Bible preaching church and begin to attend. That church will be imperfect, will lack programs you want, and will be uncomfortable at times, but you will receive the blessings of your commitment to Christ through your church attendance. You need that blessing!