The Importance of Regular Church Attendance

by Pastor John Kim

After doing a bit of research in American Church History, I was surprised to find that the sin of nonattendance was a major reason for many cases where church discipline was exercised. At first glance it seems like such a minor issue to address in such a dramatic way, but when you take some time to think about it, it really makes sense.

Attending church is more than just about showing up to the church facility on a Sunday morning. It is about being who you are called to be as a believer. We have been called out to be the body of Christ and the assembling of believers is meant to reflect the common bond we have in Christ as we share in His love with one another through fellowship that is focused on God’s glory. Hebrews 10:24-25 is often used to show the importance of not forsaking the assembling together of believers and while on the surface we might agree that it is important, I think that there are deeper implications than just physically being present at church.

To truly attend church is to have your heart, soul, and mind loving God so much that the natural overflow of love extends to one another. 1 John 4:7-20 describes the simple relationship between the command to love one another and the claim to know and love God. It is more than just not hating your brother. That is to have an “I just want to avoid getting in trouble” kind of mentalitty. It is about fervently loving one another and the only practical way you can do that is to actually be involved in each other’s lives. This means there needs to be the actual presence of people interacting in people’s lives, applying the “one anothers” that the Scriptures call us to do.

I have described this in the past as the “ministry of presence,” where your actual physical presence is what provides the opportunity for fellowship to even take place. As I have often pointed out, when people get together, we are often quick to notice who is NOT present. It is discouraging when you sense that people don’t want to be together for genuine Christian fellowship. But I believe this is where Satan really tries to lead many astray. It starts as maybe a slight hesitation to go to church on any given Sunday. Maybe you don’t feel so great. Maybe you’re tired. Maybe you have had a conflict with someone or maybe someone was insensitive and brushed you off one Sunday. Many have shared that they feel like they don’t connect with people or feel like they fit in. There are a multitude of reasons which seem innocent enough, but a lack of discipline toward attending church will quickly lead to a pattern of missing church. And this is just in regards to Sunday worship, not to mention other opportunities of fellowship.

The issue of non-attendance is usually paired with some deeper issue, either that of some sin issue, relational conflict, or a selfish attitude that is not willing to step forward and build relationships. Granted, it is not easy to start relationships and get to know people, but if anything, we have the Lord Jesus Christ in common and that should provide more than enough of a starting point if we are truly in Him. But I think for the most part that those who stop coming to church usually stop because coming to church would make them feel guilty or maybe even force them to hear God’s Word which they know would convict them and that is something that they want to avoid.

It is unfortunate that there are many in the church who don’t take seriously the call to be the church. And to be the church, you need to be present, so that you are actually in contact with the rest of the body, so that together we might honor the head of the church, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Do you love God? If you say you do, it should be evident through your love for your fellow believers. A commitment to the local church should be one that is dedicated, devoted, and enthusiastic because it is the institution which God intended for His kingdom purposes to be carried out, both for now and eternity. His glory is at stake in the church so let’s make sure that the glory doesn’t depart. We don’t want to be an Ichabod church. We want to be a church where the glory of God shines brightly in order that others might see and bring Him even more glory.

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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