Ask the everyday person on the street how they spend their Sundays and you will receive a variety of answers: take a walk or a run; drink coffee and read the paper, go for a family brunch, go to the park, lake, or mountains; watch sports, play sports, travel to interesting places, relax and do nothing. Prominently missing from the list will be going to church. Just the mention of church on Sunday makes people tense up. Times have changed and we’re a more “enlightened” culture than that which existed 40 to 50 years ago. Most people have “seen the light” and realize there’s more to Sunday than going to church. The suggestion that Sunday was intended for church is just brutally archaic. Why would you want to mess up a perfectly good Sunday with church?
Numbers don’t lie
The numbers are in and they support the more “enlightened” crowd when it comes to church being archaic. According to researchers, at best only 21% of the population is actually attending church on Sundays! The numbers prove that we as a culture have put the notion of Sunday church in our rear view mirror.
Jesus was never big on following culture
I’m pretty sure we would have never seen Jesus “trending” on Twitter or Yahoo. Most of the time Jesus was moving in the opposite direction of cultural trends. He trained his disciples to be “upstream” swimmers as well. The Bible actually instructs us how we should react when “going to church” becomes less popular with our culture.
and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24,25
The Bible teaches the place to receive encouragement and strength for our lives is the church. Now, take notice of a very important phrase, “…not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some…” The cultural trend in those days was to use Sunday for other purposes than attending church. Church attendance was no longer seen as valuable, yet, God tells us to hold tightly to regular consistent attendance with fellow believers within the church.
What’s the Point?
The point is that we have to commit ourselves to consistent church attendance if we wish to keep making forward progress in our walk with God. So what kind of next steps should we take that will help us connect with the church on a consistent basis?
- Evaluate how you currently attend
First let me take the pressure off you at this moment. No one is expected to attend church 52 weeks a year.(Did you feel that huge breeze as everyone let out a sigh of relief?) In order to move forward we have to honestly evaluate how we are currently attending church. How often do you really attend services?
Do you miss church 4 or 5 times a year? Do you miss 12 times a year? Do you miss 2 Sunday’s per month? Ok, got your number yet? Determine that your next step is to attend 20% more often than you currently do. That would mean instead of missing 26 Sunday’s a year I would only miss 20 Sunday’s a year. (You do realize that 20 Sunday’s is 4.5 months out of the year). If you’ve been missing 12 Sunday’s a year commit to only being gone 8 Sunday’s a year. It’s not complicated. However, I think we’ll all be surprised just how much we can increase our attendance by committing to a 20% increase.
2. Don’t come to church for yourself
do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Phil 2:4
One reason we often decide to not go to church – is because we’re attending for ourselves. I know, you’re asking, isn’t that why I’m supposed to go to church? But there’s more to going to church than just personal gain. We’re also to go to church to encourage others. Paul tells us in the above passage that followers of Jesus are to be just as concerned for others as we are ourselves within the church.
Each Sunday you attend church – it should be for the purpose of encouraging someone else. Purposely seek out someone you can encourage. Going to church each week for the purpose of helping someone else makes a big difference in how we view attending church.
Obviously, I could bore you to tears with more steps. But our objective is to help you take “next steps” not a running leap. These are two solid next steps that will move you forward in your walk with Jesus. Follow these “next steps” and you may find out – it’s really all the other activities that mess up a perfectly good Sunday!