When I was growing up in the church we rarely missed a service. I had to be sick in bed (which I faked a few times) if I wanted stay home instead of going to church service. That’s just the way it was.
When I entered vocational ministry almost 28 years ago the committed core- the people who carried the lion share of resourcing the church with time and money- would be absent from Sunday services about once every three months. Today the committed core is absent on average 3-4 times every quarter. This mean the main leaders that are moving the vision forward are there about 75% of the time. Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore!
Of course, we all realize the pace of work and life has sped up exponentially and doesn’t appear it will ever slow down. I think I speak for many pastors when I say we understand the demands of life and are sympathetic to the impact this has on church attendance, but, there is a dangerous trend developing that sees participation in weekly worship service as optional. Human nature hasn’t changed and Paul understood this temptation to devalue the corporate gathering so he wrote these words to the church.
“…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 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 (Heb. 10:22-25).
When we gather with other believers it is not like any other gathering. The spiritual atmosphere created helps us love more, stirs us up to good works, helps us stand firm, and strengthens us overall.
Wherever you attend, stay immersed into the body of Christ, it is for your own good!