The Great Debate: Church Attendance
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25 NLT
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Let’s first make this distinction: There is a difference between Church (with a big C) and church (with a little c).
Church (with a big C) is a noun; it is who we are called to be as believers of Christ. We are the Church, the body of Christ, the Kingdom of God that He is coming back for. (1 Corinth 12:27)
The church (with a little c) is a local community of assemblies where the Church (body of Christ) can gather for worship, fellowship, equipping and encouragement.
As I am writing about church attendance, this includes Bible Studies, Sunday School, Worship Services, etc.
Now that we got that clear: Please read this with an open mind and heart!
With so many societal changes, new laws and the rise of technology, there is a shift of focus and priorities away from God and His Word. This is evident by the decline in local church attendance. As a millennial and someone who has grown up in church, I always think it’s interesting, when people, especially believers attempt to justify not attending church. It doesn’t surprise me though because as a people, we like to make arguments against something to justify us not doing it. We have even been conditioned by society to deflect feedback and criticism back to the person giving it, especially if it’s not what we want to hear. We do this to make ourselves feel better but overall, we are hurting ourselves and setting a bad example for others. To actually be comfortable being off track or living in a bad way is counterproductive to our assignments here on earth: to build God’s Kingdom. It shows others (kids, non-believers, etc.) that it is okay to be disobedient…but it is not. Let’s talk a look —
8 Popular Debates:
Argument 1: I can read the Bible on my own
You can. And you should! Unfortunately, many times we do not. Studies show that the majority of people who do not attend church, also do not have dedicated prayer and study time. Church is an opportunity to help build that habit and at least provides specific, dedicated times.
We also need help with the understanding and application. That’s why God gave us pastors, teachers, etc.
Church is also an opportunity to share our knowledge with others who may not understand or apply as we do.
Argument 2: I don’t need to attend a church to worship God
Personal worship – private time between us and God. Reflects love and hope, devotion and great joy
Corporate worship – group of believers worshipping together in agreement about God’s greatness and holiness. Reflects gladness and rejoicing in His provision and protection.
There is a difference between personal worship and corporate worship, and we should participate in both! There are several scriptures that support both personal and corporate time.
Argument 3: There were not churches in the Bible
There are several scriptures that promote church attendance. Several scriptures that discuss Jesus in the temple. Majority of the new testament actually is the disciples traveling to spread the Gospel and establish the Church.
People would meet daily in the temple courts, homes, etc. It was a consistent practice for them to gather, share the Gospel and encourage each other. We do not do that in the same vain these days so the church building represents that space.
Argument 4:My church attendance is not a reflection of my relationship with God
Actually, it is. If you understand God’s word and the purpose He has given us, you understand the importance of church and the role it plays.
If you are in relationship with someone, don’t you want to spend time with them, learn them, tell others about them?
Argument 5: Church people are messy and hypocrites
This can be true. People in general are not perfect and often times miss the mark. That’s not different for believers. The more we attend church, learn, worship, etc…we should grow and be better. Find a way to help others and don’t be discouraged by the process. We are all on a journey….
If you attend a church that is not reflective of God, find somewhere else ?
Argument 6: I need to get myself together first
The best way to get yourself together is to start with God. Allow Him to do what He does and lead you. Church is a place to learn what that actually means, surround yourself with others who are trying to be better, and thank God for still loving us and keeping us, even as we do not have it together.
Argument 7:I don’t like or agree with church traditions and rules
All churches do not operate the same so find a church that fits our style. Many of the traditions and rules are actually scripture based. Not that keeping these traditions get you into heaven, but they help portray a holy body of people, representative of God’s Kingdom.
We adhere to traditions and rules in every other areas of our lives (work, Greek organizations, family, etc.) but when it comes to church, we want to tear it down. Every organization has a set of established processes, procedures, best practices, etc. To keep order. To stay organized. And, most importantly, to stay focus on the mission! Why should the church be any different.
Argument 8:I do not have time
Yes ??You ?? Do!
We make time for what is important. The more we prioritize the things of God, the easier it becomes. If we make excuses, it becomes just as easy to fall away and get off track. Church attendance requires thinking ahead, planning, shifting priorities, etc…but so does everything else. Remember to make room for God!
Now, these are just a couple of my faves (insert sarcastic smirk). And I don’t mind sharing my thoughts. Healthy debate and discussion surrounding the Bible and it’s principles are actually important. My goal here is not to argue at all but to teach the Word to those who actually want to learn and understand!
So, consider yourself taught!!
The key scripture above may seem cliche because it’s the “go to” verse to support church attendance. The point is: church attendance (gathering together as believers discussing and worshipping God) is, always was and always will be important. Not because it’s a man-made tradition, but because gathering as a body of believers is a requirement and reflection of our faith. It signifies to God that we are serious about growing closer to Him in worship and education. It signifies to others the importance of God in our lives. It signifies to ourselves that we are indeed a child of God and represent Him in our daily lives.
The case for church —>> Benefits of Church Attendance!
Having a Pastor who teaches the Bible and watches over your soul. It is actually their responsibility (along with teachers, prophets, etc to equip and prepare us
Fellowshipping (networking) with others, sharing experiences and being encouraged
Having a community of believers / family who support and care for you
Increased dedication and accountability
Consistent reminders and encouragement
Reflection of our love and respect for God, and relationship with Him
I could go on and on about the benefits but I digress for now ?. My hope and prayer is that our priorities shift back to what is really important. That as a people, we are proactive and intentional about our spiritual growth. This begins and is continuously cultivated by regularly attending church!.
Final a local church! You’ll be blessed by it. And you may even bless others!
Peace. Blessings. Love.