When I was a kid, it never entered my mind to ask on a church night whether or not we’d be going. I was half-grown before I knew that staying home was an option. We sure couldn’t at my place. In fact, there were times I was permitted to miss school, but still had to go to church.
I recall a few times when my carpenter dad worked late. Mom would have us all ready and fed, and we had strict orders to make sure the bathroom (we only had one) was free the instant dad’s boots hit the front steps. He’d bathe and put on his suit and eat a Spam sandwich as he drove us to church. It didn’t matter if it was revival, work night, or regular Bible study. If there was church, we were there.
Today, people understand the need for consistent exercise, many spending thousands of dollars for gym memberships where they work-out hours each day. They know the value of compound interest. They wouldn’t dream of missing a day of school.
But church? The importance of consistent church attendance seems to allude them.
So, why is church attendance so important?
Church is a family. It’s just not the same when we all aren’t there. Somebody is going to be looking for you and will be disappointed if you aren’t there. What you do does affect others.
It’s about worship. Church attendance is not about how you feel or who the preacher is. It’s about your commitment to God, His word, and His family.
It’s about association. You really do become like those you hang with. Stay away from church too often and what goes on there will seem awkward and uncomfortable.
It’s about building. All those bricks look alike, but they must be set one at a time to finish the house. What you will hear tonight will connect with what you heard last week and last month and last year. You may not notice the connection, but your brain is piecing it all together.
It’s about timing. You may have first heard the story when you were in kindergarten, but the application changes as you grow older. Truth is, you probably need to hear about Samson and his women more in your thirties than you did when you were twelve.
It’s about teaching. You can tell your children that attending church is important, but if you only come about half the time, they figure that out real quick. They will put just a little less importance on it than you do. If you have no children, you are still setting an example that some are going to follow – for better or worse.
It’s about encouragement. Not just for you, but for the pastor who has prayed and studied for hours. For the worship leader who has spent the last three days preparing the music. For the young preacher who will give his first message today. For the little boy who is praying that cancer doesn’t kill his momma. For the young mother whose husband just walked out. For the couple whose child’s development is delayed. For the missionary who is leaving his family to live in a strange country for the next four years. For the wealthy seeker who is wondering if this will fill the emptiness in his life. For the college student who doubts God exists.
It’s hard to make a difference when you aren’t there.
Brother Graves spent his life starting churches and holding revivals all across west Tennessee. Now, well into his nineties, his hearing and vision were all but gone. He grasped very little of what was going on, but every service found him right there in his pew at Souls Harbor.
When someone asked him why he bothered to come, the old preacher replied, “I want the devil to know what side I’m on!”
Get to church! Make it a priority. There really isn’t a good reason to stay home.