the battle for Sunday

The average church attender may think that their Pastor wants them to come to worship services on Sunday just to boost the numbers. That’s simply not true. He wants you to attend because what is happening there is vitally important and you are a vitally important part of the church.

Here is what happens in the minds of many church members on a Sunday morning:

“I’m tired, it’s been a long week, I stayed up late. I just don’t feel like going today.”

“One of the kids isn’t feeling too well, I think it is better if we just stay at home.”

“We have company from out of town at our house. It would be rude to go to church without them and I don’t want to ask them to come with us.”

“We can watch a church service on television or online.”

“Golf, tennis, fishing, Disney…any excuse will do!”

“I work 5 days a week, on Saturday I work around the house. Sunday is my only day off, I want to relax and enjoy some ‘me’ time.”

“We shouldn’t be legalistic; God doesn’t require me to go to church every Sunday.”

“I can worship God wherever I am. I don’t have to go to church to be with God.”

“The beach is awesome today, the weather is fantastic, let’s go there.”

“I’ve not been living right. I feel too guilty to go to church.”

“I paid a lot of money for that boat, it is wrong not to use it. Sunday is the best day to do that.”

“We’re going to visit family on Sunday.” (I wonder why people don’t visit so much on Saturday!)

“I have some work to catch up on, this is the only time to get it done.”

“Church is boring and predictable anyway, I won’t miss a thing.”

And so on…

In short, there is a war happening in the hearts and souls of people.

I encourage you – push through all of these struggles and just go to church!

If you don’t attend a service, there is more happening than you may realize:

  • You can’t positively impact others at church. Plainly put, you are supposed to build up others . You are a blessing to others simply by walking in the door. You are responsible to use your gifts to help others. You can’t do that if you’re not at church.
  • The quality of the worship service is negatively impacted if you are not there. While theoretically it should not be so, a “critical mass” is needed in most gatherings in order to conduct a successful service. When the crowd is down, morale usually follows.
  • You can’t participate in the moment of what God is saying to and doing in the lives of the people who are there. Listening online or hearing someone else talk about it is great – but it cannot recapture the power of the divine moment with God.
  • Others are watching you. You may influence them to also miss worship services.
  • As a part of the church, you are responsible to fulfill the direction that God gives to the church – whether or not you are there. Absenteeism doesn’t work for an excuse with God.
  • You disconnect from the life of the church. If the pastor is preaching in a series of messages, you miss vital parts. It then becomes more difficult to return the following week, since you already don’t know what’s going on. The church changes every week and we need to change with it.
  • A habit is formed. It only takes a few weeks to get out of the habit of going to church. You then feel guilty if/when you return. It’s just easier to avoid all the drama.
  • If you are gone more than a few weeks, you will feel out of place with your church family.
  • You won’t receive the blessing that God provides at that particular service.

Your pastor wants you at church services because he cares about your soul. And it is better for your soul if you go to church. When you are not there, he or she notices – and it is discouraging to them. Trust me on this one.

Remember:

Hebrews 10:25 (NCV) “You should not stay away from the church meetings, as some are doing, but you should meet together and encourage each other. Do this even more as you see the day coming.”

Plain and simple: the devil doesn’t want you at church services. Don’t allow him to win that battle!

See you on Sunday!

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8 responses to “the battle for Sunday

  • bobscott

    I have found that people don’t really understand the power that is in them. They might just be the missing piece that changes someone’s life, and that can only happen by their presence.

    Told our people this yesterday:
    God values you so much He wants to use what you can do.
    God loves you so much He doesn’t what you to miss out on what He is doing.

    Love your heart in this, and no truer words have been spoken.

  • Jeremy Isaacs

    A few thoughts that jumped out to me as I read:

    1) This is a great and sincere post that reveals the heart of a Pastor.
    2) Most people who casually attend church would probably read this and think it inauthentic, and that Pastors really do only care about the numbers.
    3) #2 being true in light of #1 makes me very sad.
    4) You have articulated some really great thoughts about the benefits of attending church, many of which are often overlooked by all of us.

    Great stuff Rick!

  • rickwhitter

    Thanks, Bob and Jeremy, for your great feedback, honored you read it and much appreciate the input.

  • Megan

    I can’t help but think the issue at the heart of all these “reasons” is that people have forgotten (or never learned) how to be part of a community, so that aspect of the Christian life dissolves easily. I believe you have to value and experience that type of interraction before attendance can trump any excuse for skipping church.

    Not sure how to turn that around though, especially for adults. I’ve seen it done, but that usually only comes when individuals have some sort of dire need that’s being met by an organization…either that or a shared, difficult experience.

  • Megan

    oops…”interaction”

  • rickwhitter

    I think you’re right, Megan. Our culture has devalued community. Interesting how people begin to value community when they are in need. We see expectations placed on the church rise when people are in need. The problem is, like all viable relationships, this must be a two-way street in order to succeed.

    Thanks for the input.

  • Patrick

    Okay… “Convicted!” I am not a memeber of yoiur church (yet) and live not far from it. Me and my wife having been out of church for awhile now, recently began praying for a church home. We’ve allowed the world and it’s struggles to hold us back. Funny thing, we met each other at church where I worked and she was attending! It was the best time of our lives. so with that said, I look forward to attending your services and getting re-aquainted with brother’s and sister’s in the Lord. See you Sunday… PS: I have been following you and the church via your blog and Facebook too. Amazing! Amazing Grace.

  • rickwhitter

    Hey Patrick, thanks for checking us out. Please say hello on Sunday – it will be great to see you here!

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