"Dear Pastor, I think a lot more people would come to your church if you moved it to Disneyland.” (Loreen, age 9)
Loreen, that sounds about right. Church attendance in our day is not exactly, shall we say, fashionable? Research reveals a continuing decline in Sunday morning attendance. Observe what America does on a typical Sunday and usually, going to Sunday school and worship are at the bottom of the list of varied activities. More and more people are opting out. Many see the church as irrelevant and out of touch. They see it as time that could best be used doing something else.
Of course I recognize that any talk of attending church by a pastor would appear to be self-serving, since we pastors can be seen as having a vested interest not only in our churches surviving, but also in growing and thriving! Pastors can get concerned when attendance in worship drops off.
Still, how are we doing in our attendance each Sunday? How faithful are we in supporting our church with our presence? James Moore asks these questions in a more creative way: “If our car would start one out of three times, would we consider it faithful? If our television worked sixty percent of the time, would we consider it faithful? If our newspaper delivery person should skip our house every other day and an occasional Friday, would we call that faithful? If our water heater should greet us with cold water three mornings a week, would it be faithful?
If we fail to come to work five or six days each month, would our employer consider us faithful? If we should miss a couple of house payments in a year, would our mortgage holder say, “Oh well, ten out of twelve months, that’s not too bad?” If we attend church once or twice a month, 25% or 50% of the time, would we say that we’re faithful?
In a real sense, the church year begins anew after summer break. Vacations are over; school is back in session and full church programming resumes. I encourage everyone to be present for Bible study and worship throughout September. God’s Word was written not just for information, but for
transformation. Come to study the Word and hear it proclaimed!
I believe this might be an apt time to share with you a series of messages on just a few of the myriad of reasons why it is so important that we gather together each Sunday morning for study and praise. The Series is entitled, “Church: Why Bother?” and begins on September 4th. Why bother? There are more reasons than I can number. So, “Let us draw near to God with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” (Hebrews 10:22) God desires a relationship with us. I encourage you; don’t miss out on all that God has for you.
Pastor Joel Hawthorne