07/26/15 – 213
We have talked about this question several times in passing, but on this Sunday, why not get right to the core? Many, many people who consider and identify themselves as Christians either do not attend church, or attend only on rare occasions. The reasons they give are many and varied. I found a great article on the 10 most common reasons here. If you boil it all down, though, I think it’s a matter of priorities. We simply don’t put God first anymore. When we teach our children that being on the soccer team is more important than their spiritual well being, neither will they.
The rationalizations are interesting too. These are different than excuses. Excuses are the reasons we don’t go; rationalizations are why we think it’s OK.
“I can worship God by walking in the woods and contemplating a flower.” (Yes, you can, but that doesn’t make you a Christian – or an obedient one)
“The church is full of hypocrites.” (Yes, yes it is. And if you came, maybe we could all help each other grow out of that.))
“The pastors just want your money.” (#1 – Sorry, it does take money to pay the bills, and pastors have bills to pay as well. #2 That’s quite a sweeping generalization, there actually are many pastors who work a second job to pay the bills, and monies taken in go to help the church and other people.
“All they want is to suck you into being a Sunday School teacher or something.” (Would you rather they use all that money and hire from outside, or what?)
“I can watch my favorite preacher on TV. (You can, but are you worshipping?)
And so on.
But the big question is this – is it a Biblical requirement to attend church?
Matthew 12:30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (underline mine)
1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. (underline mine. ‘each other’ here refers specifically to other Christians)
Add to this the fact that there is absolutely not even the idea of solitary Christianity in scripture, and Jesus’ prayer in John 17 that all Christians be unified, and I think you get the idea.
The solutions are simple to know, maybe hard to implement in your life. But, if they are important enough to you, you will.
- Put Christ first. If this means your kid can’t join that sports team because they demand Sunday practices, oh well. There are other teams that don’t. Make sure he understands why, and make sure that the trade-off is the joy of Christ in his life rather than a legalistic ‘you can’t go because the church says no’. This may also mean turning down some overtime, or even a job. The question is, do you trust Jesus enough to know that if you honor Him according to your covenant, He will honor you?
- Forget about finding the perfect church. If there was such a thing, they probably wouldn’t let you in anyway. Instead, find the church where God wants you to serve rather than the church that can serve you the best. Then get involved, and work to make it better.
- Yes, give money. But be a good steward. If your church isn’t using its money wisely and for godly purposes, maybe you’re not in the right place. For instance, I probably wouldn’t be tithing to a church that was buying a private jet for the pastor.
- Keep growing spiritually yourself, and disciple others in your church.
- As far as the TV preacher – if you’re learning and growing by watching – have at it! But don’t mistake that for true worship, which is to assign a value to someone or something. When we worship God, we are showing Him how much we value Him. Think really hard about that. When you think about actually going to a service, singing a song, whatever – getting outside your comfort zone – ask yourself, is He worth it?
Have a great worship today.