I was talking with our preacher Sunday about Sunday Night Worship Service and what we could do to increase attendance. As I researched the subject, I found that most congregations deal with the same problem. Decent attendance in the morning Worship and 25 to 30 percent of that number back on Sunday night.
IS THERE HINDRANCE FROM GOD?
The only hindrance that should keep one from the assembly is hindrance from God. If we are ill or otherwise hindered by the Lord, He does not expect us to assemble.
However the truth of the matter is that we often stretch an excuse to such an extreme that we create a hindrance and say it is from God. Parents may run around with their children all Sunday afternoon, but when evening comes the “children are just too tired to go to church.”
Sometimes personal work is done at the time of church meetings when it could just as easily be done at other times. Or sometimes we knowingly schedule ourselves for nonessential activities that will regularly keep us away from church assemblies on Sunday nights. Have we ever considered how insulting to the Lord it must be for us to feel well enough to go anywhere and do anything, except to meet with the brethren?
It is a strong congregation whose members can be counted upon to assemble together unless they are truly hindered from the Lord. The principle that Jesus stated in Matt. 6:33 to “Seek first the kingdom of God” is the basis that faithful Christians should use in determining whether or not to assemble with the church. Placing the Lord’s church before the other things that compete for our time and energy is certainly the proper attitude.
THE LORD IS IN OUR MIDST
If we believe Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three have gathered together in my name there l am in their midst,;” we will then realize that if we absent ourselves from the assembly, we remove ourselves from a meeting where the Lord is present.
WE MISS INSTRUCTION
When one misses the assembly he not only misses meeting with the Lord, he also misses the receiving of valuable instruction. Since he is not there, he will not be edified with the rest of the saints. (1 Cor. 14:12.) Who, among us, is so filled with information and wisdom that we have no need for further study or a need to be built up in the faith?
The Christian life is one of constant growth (2 Pet. 1:5-7). One may learn something from every lesson taught, or at least be reminded of great Bible truths. So often a sermon is preached or a lesson taught, but many who need to hear it have chosen to stay home, go fishing, play golf or be elsewhere. Building a strong congregation is the work of every member. A strong church cannot be built by a weak membership. It is difficult to build strong Christian character by sporadic attendance.
WE MISS COMMUNICATION
When one does not attend all the services of the church he also misses communication with other Christians. Some members feel like “outsiders” because they never seem to know what is going on in the congregation. The reason for this is quite simple. They fail to attend the assemblies where congregational news is given.
WE MISS ASSOCIATION WITH CHRISTIANS
When we do not attend the various assemblies we also miss association with other Christians. We all need the association of brothers and sisters in Christ so we can encourage others as well as be encouraged. We need to comfort others as well as be comforted. “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” (Heb. 10:24).
JUST A PRIVATE MATTER?
Attendance is not just a “private matter” as some would like to think. Other Christians are looking at us, and they are affected by our examples. It is a very serious matter when a poor example is set before a weak brother or sister. A poor example in the matter of attendance might well set a new or weak member on the road to a complete falling away.
Our own children are being told by our pattern of attendance what we consider important and what we consider unimportant. If we allow the smallest thing to keep us away from the assemblies, surely we are giving a message that is loud and clear to our children. The attitude of the parent will likely become the attitude of the child. Camping, fishing trips and recreational activities are good and beneficial, but surely they can be arranged so that the Lord will not be neglected.
ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER TO ATTEND
We can become stronger individual Christians, and stronger congregations if we will all become faithful attenders of all the assemblies.
The exhortation of the Hebrew writer is just as applicable for us today as it was for the church of Christ over nineteen centuries ago: “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.”
Please DO NOT neglect God!! SMILE He loves YOU!!