How often do you go to church? Why? How much time in prayer, worship, and reflection do you engage in before you leave campus or home for the local congregation you are a part of? Why do you need to meet with fellow Christians to maintain a healthy God-honoring life?
Having been on mission trips outside of America, I have met fellow believers who did not attend church merely because of what they “got out of it.” Church was critical to their spiritual health and maturity. I met a few who got up early to walk long distances to get to church. When the service is over, and the additional fellowship time concludes, they make the long walk home. They told me they could not survive without a chance to meet God with others regularly.
There are many reasons why people attend church, including habit, family practice, devotion, participation, service, relationships, and connection to people and God. I read a university study a while ago that found a relationship between the frequency of church attendance and the economy. When the economy is doing well, attendance will be down. After the terrorist attacks of September 2011, a rise in attendance was noted as people were desperate for answers in a world that suddenly seemed out of control. But did the trend continue? No, sadly it did not.
Some believers find it difficult to make the time to meet regularly with other Christians for worship, study, fellowship, and encouragement. Some college age followers of Jesus find participation with a student organization like Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship at their school too challenging. They would much rather use their time differently during the week and find Sunday mornings a good chance to sleep in. Their bodies may be more invigorated, but their interest in a robust spiritual life may be nodding off, or even non-existent.
Some people may have been hurt by someone in the church. Others may feel skeptical, cynical, or even dismayed by the lack of authenticity, poor modeling of an ancient faith, inadequate preaching to convey Biblical truths, or just plain inhospitable environments. Some feel guilty about going to church on Sunday, or Chi Alpha during the week, but living like an unbeliever the rest of the week. It is easy to avoid the “Jiminy Cricket” conscience thing (see Pinocchio).
Allow me to pose a question to consider of the people mentioned above. Which one(s) are really followers of Jesus? Is every person who attends church or Chi Alpha a “growing disciple” of the King, who died on a cross to purchase our salvation? Or are there actual Christians, seekers of the faith, and a lot of folks who are culturally religious, like a spectator at a sporting event?
Read Hebrews 10:19-25.
We can use a lot of excuses about not being more active in developing our faith journey, especially when it comes to the role of the church. But when we desire to follow Jesus, we must obey the early church’s instructions in Hebrews 10:25. The Greek word “give up” meeting in verse 25 means desertion or abandonment. We should not go to church out of guilt or mere obligation, but out of reverence and obedience to God. Did you notice the five “let us(not me)” exhortations in verses 22-25 that underscore how necessary the church is to followers of Jesus?
Live communally. Jesus promised in Matthew 18:20, “Where two or three gather in My Name, there I am with them.” If you are a Christian, church is a great place to go and grow.
Love is a verb,
©2018 by Mike Olejarz