Numbers tell the tale. Church attendance is plummeting across all religious groups. The “Why?” and the “Now What?” are the subject of an interesting article on Cripplegate, a Canadian religious website.
Not associated with the Churches of Christ is any way, Cripplegate nonetheless reaches conclusions that are strikingly similar to conclusions reached by mainstream brethren. Brace yourself because these conclusions are actually more demanding and rigid than those with which we are most comfortable.
Why People are Not Attending
- Apostasy – many are abandoning worship because they are abandoning Christianity (or were never really converted).
- Sloth – others abandon worship because they are just too lazy and undisciplined to regularly attend.
- Pride – a few think that they are beyond the church and that the church has nothing to offer them.
- Lack of desired entertainment – one group of non-attenders has confused worship of God with entertainment and is not coming because they are not getting what they want.
Why People Should Attend
- To please Christ because he has commanded us to not forsake the church’s services ().
- Worship is the only place where we can fulfill all of the “one another” commands in scripture (i.e., I Pet. 1:22, 4:8-10, 5:5, 5:14, etc.).
- We love fellow Christians and want to be with them for no other reason than simply being together with family. It’s just refreshing and invigorating to be around people who love the Lord and to encourage one another.
- We are part of the body of Christ and it is painful to be away from the rest of the body.
- Worship is where we sit under the teaching of the word of God. We need that, and it’s part of our spiritual growth and health to be regularly exposed to the exposition of the word of God.
- We need to be protected from false teachers/teaching and we are not generally inclined to protect ourselves. God has placed structures in our lives (which involve the church and it’s leadership) in order to guard us from false teaching and we need to submit to those structures and the people who work within them).
- We need to regularly face the terror of communion in order to force me to deal with outstanding sin in my life and keep short accounts with God (1 Cor. 11:27-30).
- Our desire should be to serve in the church because that’s the proper domain for our extra -curricular labors.
- The church has been given the ordinance of discipline for the care of the wayward members (; 1 Cor. 5:1-13) and if we remove ourselves from the church, we also remove ourselves from God’s appointed system of watching over us when our soul desires to stray from the Lord.
- We go to church because we need to learn to submit to Christ, and we get practice when we learn to submit to the leadership above us unto which God has commanded my submission ( & 17; 1 Pet. 5:5).
- We go to church to be encouraged and affirmed by the right kind of people.
- We go to church because that’s where we find examples of Christian maturity to imitate.
- The church is also full of fellow believers who are difficult to love and church is where we learn to love the brethren. We cannot and should not try to escape fellow believers who are difficult to love; God has placed them in our lives so that we can practice patience, love, selflessness, etc.
- We go to church because we don’t want to go to Hell.