By Joe Chesser
According to Carey Nieuwhof’s article, Why Attending Church No Longer Makes Sense, fewer people are attending church every year. Many of them are asking, “Why bother?” After all, 1000s of churches are streaming their services live online. If not live, then you can watch or listen to a podcast anytime, any day. We now live in a culture that’s drowning in options and has 24/7 access to anything Christian. And it’s all free. So, why attend church? It is a universal truth that fewer people are attending church.
Even with high energy music, charismatic preachers, and/or casual coffeehouse-like ambience, consumer driven “Christians” increasingly demand something bigger and better. If not, they will go looking elsewhere, or stay home and get their church fix via the internet. Consumer driven “Christians” will find something to please them.
It’s tragic how accurate Paul’s prediction was. He warned Timothy to preach the truth of God consistently, or else people will leave the truth of God behind to diligently seek whatever they want to hear instead (2 Tim. 4.2-4). Consumer driven “Christians” will give up commitment to God and His word, and replace it with commitment to whatever they choose. When they tire of one thing, they will look for something else. It’s all about self. And since assembling to worship God is so inconvenient and unfulfilling, they’ll search for something that’s easier and more pleasing. Church assemblies get in the way of life.
And so, fewer people are attending church … and we are all affected by it. As fewer people are present in church assemblies to be taught and encouraged, individuals grow weaker (Prov. 19.27). As they grow weaker, their families and churches grow weaker. As these grow weaker, communities and nations grow weaker. All because consumer driven “Christians” would rather do things their way than God’s way.
It should be noted that it was to weak Christians that the book of Hebrews was written. Many of the original readers were still needing milk instead of meat (Heb. 5.12-14). A part of the reason for their weakness was due to the habit of missing church assemblies (Heb. 10.25). Thus, the Holy Spirit inspired the writer to encourage them: “let us draw near to God … let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess … let us spur one another on to love and good deeds … let us NOT give up meeting together” (Heb. 10.22-25).
Consumer driven “Christians” think mostly of what pleases themselves. Committed Christians die to themselves and follow Jesus (Lk. 9.23). It’s vital to do what God wants, not what we want. As Christians, we are “to make it our goal to please him” (2 Cor. 5.9).
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO. He may be contacted at email@example.com