By Jeff Arnette
I read an article on the website churchleaders.com with this same title and I wanted to share some of the main ideas with you. You can follow the link above for the full article.
In the article, the author spoke about the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and attendance trends. He said that the SBC had a membership of 16 million members but on any given Sunday, only 6 million attend a church service. I must agree with the author that this is extremely discouraging and a dangerous statistic. Yet, on the other hand, it’s encouraging to hear that we’re not the only one struggling with attendance problems. Just like the SBC, on any given Sunday, there are more church members absent than are present.
This is discouraging and disheartening for those who are trying to grow personally, spiritually and see the Lord's church grow. It is also discouraging and disheartening for the various Sunday School Teachers who have put in a lot of time and effort to prepare to teach a class only to show up and more than half of their students are not there. More importantly, this is dangerous for your faith and those we are trying to teach to be faithful Christians. Every time you choose to stay home or do something else, you are teaching all of us a powerful lesson that is hard to forget. The lesson is clear: Church, Faith, and Jesus are not that important. It is also an extremely dangerous situation for you! When you don’t come to church services you are placing your own soul and salvation in a very precarious position.
When you miss church, you miss out on God’s primary plan for your growth and well-being. The church is not an afterthought or a mistake! It is God’s plan that is meant to support and help you grow. The preaching and teaching of God’s word in this group setting motivate each of us to strive for Christ-likeness.
When you miss church, you are disobeying God. Assembling with the church is not optional nor is it subject to your whims. Hebrews 10:24-25 teaches us to avoid neglecting the public assembly of the church. At the very least, you need to understand that this is the will of God for you.
When you miss church, you proclaim that Jesus is not worthy of worship. Where we spend our time reveals the things, we truly value. If you miss church to sleep in or attend a sporting event, it says that thing is more important than Jesus. Don’t ever forget that it teaches your family (children included) that it’s not worth the effort. Do you want to see your friends and family saved? Teach them by your example!
When you miss church, you can’t serve anyone else. Too often we think of the church as a place to have our needs met. Therefore, if my needs are not being met, I can stay home. The problem with this is serious. It makes church all about you. It is selfish, individualistic, and misses the heart of Jesus. Jesus was a servant (Matt. 20:28) and He expects you to be as well.
Lastly, when you miss church, you miss out on a foretaste of heaven itself. Revelation 22:3 tells us that heaven will be worship. Do you realize that this means that heaven is going to be like church? An eternity spent worshiping our Lord. With that said, if you don’t do it here nor like it, why would you think you will get to do it in heaven.
Don’t allow the church, Bible study, worship, and fellowship, to become something you miss because it just might cause you to miss out on everything, even heaven itself.
- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: https://centralhaywoodcoc.com/