According to the Joshua Project (www.joshuaproject.net), there are 6,648 unreached people groups in the world. That amounts to over 3 billion people who have never heard the Gospel message. To put it more easily understood, 42.2% of the world’s population is unreached. Less than half of America now claims to have a relationship with Christ.
During World War 2, there was one church for every 430 people. Today, there is one church for every 6,028 people. In my county alone, 85% of the people are not in church. People, these statistics are astounding!
It is estimated that it takes 50 Christians to reach 1 (one) non-Christian!
- It’s optional. Christians have fallen into the lie that going to church is optional. It is not. Attending church is an act of obedience. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. (Hebrews 10:24-26). Coming together in a church setting and assembling ourselves together is an act of obedience so that we can motivate, encourage one another, and build one another up. It is also for accountability. This is a responsibility that is given to EVERY believer. James 4:17 says, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
- Discipleship. We need to be making disciples outside the church, but we also need to be seeking the Lord to make disciples INSIDE the church as well. Are you helping to make disciples? If the answer is no, then why not?
- We must remember that we are on a mission. Part of living on a mission happens inside the church.
- Unwavering. God expects us to be unwavering regarding the truths of the gospel. When we look at Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Without wavering means do not lean away from; to hold fast to the truths. When we receive the preaching and teaching of the Word of God, it increases our faith and builds us up spiritually. If we are not being fed the Word, how can we learn to overcome spiritual attacks and challenges? So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17).
- Missions and Evangelism. “Mission” and “evangelism” are buzz words in the church. “Mission” is like the phrase “healthy living” – who could possibly object? “Evangelism” is like long distance running. Confused? Stay tuned.
- Go where you are sent. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” And with that He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21-22). The church is the result of God’s mission. And more than this, the church is swept up by the Spirit into the purposes of the mission Dei.
- We are missionaries! Our very existence is an existence on mission, wherever we may be. We have our being as church in the commission which is laid upon the whole body to be Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the Earth (Acts 1:8). Mission is not what we do; it is who we are.
- Learn to become missionaries. How do you become a missionary unless you are submersed in the truths of the Gospel? How do you become submersed in those truths if you are not attending church? Sure, most churches now add their sermons on their websites. Absolutely you can watch sermons on television or hear them on the radio. However, Jesus says in Matthew, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” But, you say, you watch or listen to the sermons with your family. Well, unfortunately, that’s not going to cut it.
- Get involved. Get involved in a Life Group, Small Group, Study Group, Home Group, just get involved in a group of Godly men and women to help you put on the full armor of God! You can not do this by remaining at home. Husbands, it is your duty to be the spiritual leader of your house. It is your duty, given by God, to feed your family. However, how can you continually feed if you’re not being fed? How can you expect your wife to nurse your son or daughter if she is not eating? In order to feed, you must first be fed. How do you get fed the spiritual milk? Through Small Groups.
- Jesus did it. Luke 4:16 says, Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. The Bible tells us that “as was His Custom” or another translation of the Bible says “as usual,” Jesus went to the place of worship. This is in keeping with obeying one of the Ten Commandments (Observe the Sabbath by keeping it holy). When we say we are followers of Christ, we’re supposed to do what Jesus has done. What would Jesus do? Jesus would go to church and we as followers of Christ should do the same. If we take seriously our fellowship of Christ, then we should go to church regularly.
- It’s a good habit. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, And let us consider one another in order to stir (spur) up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship. But we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer. The Bible says to us there is a good habit of regularly going to church. It is human nature to think of habits as bad. Some have developed the bad habit of missing church. Maybe you’ve got out of the habit or maybe you have yet to develop the habit of regular church attendance. Sunday morning offers a lot of options: (1) sleep in; (2) brunch; (3) read the Sunday paper; (4) recreation; etc. However, there are good habits also. Good habits bless your life and produce positive results. When you practice the good habit of regular church attendance you reap some very good outcomes.
- Positive Example. Attending church regularly sets a positive example. Each Sunday, you are setting an example that other people notice. It is an example that becomes an inspiration for others. People who are trying to make their lives better, people who want a positive change are going to be impacted by an example of someone who is committed to regular church attendance. For you married folks, it’s a positive example to your spouse. For you folks with children, it’s an absolutely positive example for your kids to know that on Sunday you go to church. For the people around you, whether it’s your friends or your co-workers, whether it’s your family, when they see that you have a commitment that is leading you to living a better life – that is a positive example that other people can follow. When you allow Christ to have a positive impact on your life, your friends and neighbors will notice. I guarantee it! They want what you have. They see the way you treat your spouse with respect, admiration and love. They see how your kids are excited to attend church. They want that for their family also.
- Fellowship. Fellowship! Fellowship! The church is an encouraging place. We all need encouragement. Life is hard, difficult, unfair, and full of trials and tribulations. We all run into various kinds of challenges – health problems, financial issues, conflict within our families. We have an opportunity to encourage one another and that is part of what church is about. Sunday service is where fellowship begins. The launching point to fellowship and community is in church services. Every Sunday that you come, there are going to be people who are looking for you, wondering if you’re there. People will miss you. Remember that time you missed school or school event (i.e. sports, play, fundraiser, etc.) and your friends told you they missed you? Remember that time your spouse left for work for longer than a few days and how much you missed them? That’s because you built a relationship. It’s the same for church. The longer you more consistently you attend, the more you will be missed. The more you are involved, the more you time you devote to building those relationships, the more people miss you and notice that you’re not around. It is a marvelous thing to be a part of a local church. It’s like having a much larger family.
- Spiritual Growth. Church attendance is needed for spiritual growth. I’m sure you all have heard the saying, “It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.” Each service is tailored and designed to maximize your Sunday worship so that you can leave with the best possible spiritual experience. Each sermon is tailored towards someone’s specific needs, not always your own, but you can always gain something from it. You can praise and worship God and you can learn things that you didn’t know before. You will be challenged. You’re going to be motivated. Church is where you will be inspired to go higher than you’ve ever gone, to live a life that is godlier and greater than you’ve been living, to sync your life up with Jesus and His purpose and plan for your life. You will come to understand why you’re here on this earth: to serve, to give and to love.
What are some normal excuses for not attending church?
- All they want is my money! I have attended churches where the focus seems to revolve around money. Unfortunately, you find those around. However, I urge you to study scripture. Tithing isn’t an Old Testament “bring me your tomatoes and sheep” kind of giving. You can find tithing all across the Old as well as the New Testament. In the end, tithing wasn’t something Israel did in the same way we mindlessly toss a gratuity down with our bill at a restaurant. It was an intentional practice through which God intended to teach Israel about his sovereign ownership of everything. Instead of being consumers of their blessings, they had to stop and think through just how much blessing they had. Through the tithe, God took care of his people—and through the act of generous giving, God continues to bless his people. Another way to think about it, albeit rough, everything you do requires your time and/or money – PTA, Boyscouts, Girlscouts, TLUSA, school, work, and the list goes on. However, you not required to get involved in anything. You can save your time and money to the tenth degree. Unfortunately, you will live a lonely, unsatisfied life. After Clay retired from the Army, they withheld his last paycheck. This error on their part put us in a financial hardship. Actually, financial hardship doesn’t do our circumstance justice. We were on the brink of losing almost everything. Luckily, he started working and we had at least one source of income. Anyway, one Sunday at church, Clay asked me if I was tithing. This was a question he asked religiously (no pun intended). I was good at avoiding the question. However, this particular Sunday, he said firmly, “Write the check!” I wanted to tell him with an emphatic and resounding, “NO!”, but I submitted. I could see all the bills we had as I was writing that check and all the things we could use that tithe for. But, there it went, right into the offering plate, forever lost. There was no getting it back. Later that week, as I was trying to figure out how to pay the car payment and house payment and all the other bills we had, a check came in the mail. We were saved financially, for that moment at least. 🙂 I told Clay about it and he said, “In order for blessings to come down, we need to send blessings up.” [bctt tweet=””In order for blessings to come down, we need to send blessings up.” "] Some have told me, “Well, that was a coincidence.” Was it? I think not. If Lot’s wife hadn’t turned around, she wouldn’t have been turned into a pillar of salt. A coincidence, by definition, is “a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.” Sorry, folks. But there was an apparent causal connection.
- Church is so boring! I once read someone’s excuse for not attending church. They said, “It is repetitious, predictable and a meaningless ritual. I would rather sleep in. I work hard all week and I deserve it!” Church is repetitious sometimes but so is life. The days of our lives are structured around cycles of work, eating, family and recreation times. Any of these activities can become boring if we don’t strive to find something interesting or enjoyable about them. Sunday mornings at church are a time to learn about the Bible, share problems, thank God for our many blessings, to make new friends and renew old ones. The objective in going to church is to seek to build our relationship with God and others. Many people go to church to fulfill an obligation through some ritual and so are reduced to actions without meaning. Church worship is all about an encounter with God and others that changes who we are. Not going to church on a Sunday morning because you deserve a sleep-in does not explain why you miss church on Saturday or Sunday night. The problem is much deeper than the time of the day – it is a matter of selfishness. Everything in life is negotiable, except Jesus.
- Church people are hypocrites! Those who do not attend church regularly think that churchgoers pretend to be good for a few hours on Sunday morning but they are like everyone else the rest of the week. A common misunderstanding about church is that it should somehow make us better people. It is not the action of going to church, but the encounter with God and others that changes our lives for the better. Most people do not understand this and thus do not seek to have life changing experiences through worship and church activities. Church is a hospital for the broken. Christians are humans who believe that Jesus is God and that He has made us acceptable to Himself by paying the penalty for our sins on the cross (Romans 6:23). Therefore, what makes Christians unique is not the outward appearance but what God has done on the inside by changing the soul and mind (2 Corinthians 5:17). Those who sincerely call upon Jesus to save them from their sins experience a spiritual birth that gradually transforms the mind and behavior conforming us to His will (John 1:12; Romans 12:1-2). Christians can be seen to be hypocrites more easily than someone who does not profess any beliefs because Christian standards are defined in the Bible, whereas personal standards can be changed to fit circumstances or are unknown to others. The bottom line is that all humans are hypocrites because we all fail to consistently live up to any standards of behavior that are defined. The difference is that Jesus forgives the hypocrisy of believers and has sent His Holy Spirit to guide and transform those who know Him as Savior and confess Him as Lord (Romans 10:9-10). If you have felt that you were being judged, I apologize. If you felt that Christians were hypocrites, I would look at your life first, and know that we are all sinners. Know God. Study His Word. Allow Christ to work in you, show thyself as an approved workman, then change this belief with new visitors in your church.
- Church is unnecessary since Bible study and prayer can be done without others; I can watch a sermon online or on TV. The Bible says that believers must not keep apart from other believers (Hebrews 10:24-25), as I mentioned above. It is true that we are influenced and become like the people we associate with. You’ve heard the stories of “running with the wrong crowd.” Even to this day, we try to keep our children from “running with the wrong crowd.” Why? Because they will take on the personalities and characteristics of those around them. Adults are the same. Also, by getting together, common beliefs are affirmed and ways to overcome problems are shared. There are three spiritual pillars to have a strong Christian life: personal prayer, Bible study and fellow believers. To rely on less than all three is like trying to sit on a one or two-legged stool. Three legs are needed for a firm foundation and proper function.
- Church people just judge because I have sin in my life; I’ll go to church when I have it together. One of the biggest reasons for the breakdown of families is the lack of moral standards and honestly the lack of church attendance. There is a massive decline in being able recite the Ten Commandments, let alone John 3:16, and many who cannot do it our “Christians.” Without moral standards, it is easier to do your own thing and not feel guilty about it. Guilt is part of our conscience and is a gift from God to help us do good. It is true that sometimes people make us feel guilty. During these times it is important to seek God’s view through prayer and reading the Bible. This means it is necessary to be familiar with the Bible enough to discern whether others are making us feel guilty or if God is trying to get our attention. In order to stop this moral decay, it is important to be IN church. In a Godly church where the Word of God is preached. Where you can be around like-minded Christians to hold you accountable. We will never have it all together. Waiting till we get our life right is just another excuse!
(This photo was taken at church this week. This whole month is missions month for missions both inside and outside the church. This was from Discipleship Now weekend for teens. So many teens gathered around that alter! Made me so excited! Train up your children…..)
Clay and Laura