The story is told of three preachers who
got together for coffee one day and found out that all of them faced the same
problem with bat-infestations in their church buildings. One of them sad, “I
got mad and took a shotgun and fired at them. I missed the bats and it put a
hole in the roof. I don’t suggest that approach.” The second said, “I caught
the bats in traps and drove them 50 miles away and released them.
Unfortunately, they beat me back to the church building.” The third one said,
“I solved my bat problem. I simply baptized them and made them deacons. I
haven’t seen them since.”
On another Sunday morning, two men were
fishing and feeling pretty guilty for skipping church, especially since the
fish weren’t biting. One said to the other, “I guess I should have stayed home
and gone to church.” The other man replied, “Maybe so, but I couldn’t have gone
to church anyway...my wife is sick in bed.” During a very long church service,
in the middle of a long-winded sermon, a small child was overheard whispering
to his mother, “Mommy, are you sure this is the only way we can get to heaven?”
Today, I want us to talk about our need for
being more faithful in attendance. I really should begin by commending you for
being here today. In some respects, I’m preaching to the choir, so to speak.
But as you will see, this lesson is really for all of us. I really want to be
frank today, but I don’t want to be negative. I do believe the church has a
problem, but I think we can see it as an opportunity for positive action.
So, before we discuss positive solutions, let’s take a look at the numbers. First of all, let me state that I’m thankful that we have an average attendance of about 140-150. The downside, however, is that on average there are about 60-70 of our people missing ALTOGETHER. Some miss because: they are sick, they are working or they went somewhere else. Others miss because they just did not want to come that day and these are the ones I will primarily be referring to in this lesson.
So in summary, we have a mix of at least
one third of our members here that miss every week for some reason or another.
I don’t want to spend much time trying to analyze all of the reasons that
people may be missing so much. Certainly, there are some good and legitimate
reasons why people might be missing from the gathering of the church (things
like illness, travel, family complications or work might fall into this
category). And certainly, there are some wrong or inappropriate reasons why people
might be missing from the gathering of the church.
What I would like to remind us of today is
the Scriptural and spiritual mandate for gathering with the church. Our passage
from Acts 2 gives us a beautiful snapshot of the experience of the early church
and stands as a wonderful example for Christians for all times—Acts 2:40-47.
Exciting and wonderful things were happening in the church at the time. No one
needed to be coerced into attending the gathering of the church. They all were concerned
about each other and were serving each other.
It was indeed an exciting time. There was a
lot of enthusiasm and momentum. I wish we could bottle some of that, or put it
in a pill and take it when we needed it. Amen! Because then everyone would want
to be here every time they could and for the same reasons they gathered
together and grew daily.