From Thom Rainer.com
“Five Reasons Church Members Attend Church Less Frequently:
About 20 years ago, a church member was considered active in the church if he or she attended three times a week. Today, a church member is considered active in the church if he or she attends three times a month. Something is wrong with this picture. For 2,000 years, the local church, as messy as it is, has been God’s place for believers to gather, worship, minister, and be accountable to one another. And every time I write something about church membership and attendance, I inevitably hear cries of “legalism” or “the church is not a building” or “the church is a messed up institution.” But the local church, the messy local church, is what God has used as His primary instrument to make disciples. But commitment is waning among many church members. Why?
1. We are minimizing the importance of the local church. When we do, we are less likely to attend. A few drops of rain may keep many folks from attending church, but it won’t stop them from sitting three hours in the downpour watching their favorite football team.
2. We worship the idols of activities. Many members will replace a day in their church with a day at kid’s soccer or softball games or sleeping off the hangover of the previous day’s activities.
3. We take a lot of vacations from church. I am not anti-vacation. But 20 years or so ago, we would make certain we attended a church where we were taking a vacation. Today, many members take a vacation from church.
4. We do not have high expectations of our members. Any purposeful organization expects and gets much of it members, whether it’s a sports team or a civic organization. It is ironic that most churches do not come close to being a high expectation church.
5. We make infrequent attendees leaders in our churches. When we do, we are making a clear statement that even the leaders of the church do not have to be committed to the place they supposedly lead.
I heard a leader of an organization tell the members he did not want them if they were not fully committed. They could not be AWOL if they wanted to be a part of the group. He expected full commitment. He is a high school football coach. And all the team members follow that high expectation of commitment.
If we truly expect to make a difference in our communities and our families, members of local churches need to have at least the same level of commitment as members of sports teams.
After all, the mission of each local church is far more important. At least it should be.”
I fully agree. Let’s quit messing around and get our priorities straight.
I had the opportunity to sit in a courtroom a couple weeks ago. It was an interesting scene as there was a flurry of activity prior to session. Lawyers catching up on legal cases, talking shop, and ironing out details about other pending cases. Each of them were taking their turn to talk with the prosecutor about various issues. The room was an intimidating place. From the gallery where I sat you look over the back of the prosecution and defense tables. A 12 person jury bench is seated to the right side of the room. The witness block felt like it had the weight of the room on its shoulders located down in the front right at center of this arena. And finally at center top of the room lording over everything was the judges bench. I noticed that were glass covered book cases lining one entire wall from the front of the room to the back, and the entire wall behind the judge. The books looked to be massive law books from more than a hundred years ago. On the prosecutors table were stacks of legal folders ranging in size from thin to massive, holding legal details about the people whose lives would be on review that day.
I have been in a courtroom many times before, I’ll let you take that idea where you want. But today was different, as I sat there I felt the Lord take me to Revelation 20:11-12 “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.” What a scene, trying to fathom what it will be like when we stand before God our Judge, the Almighty, on the throne. Every detail of every persons life written and read, this is a terrifying moment for me. All this time Satan has been the prosecutor, he is our accuser, the fault finder, but by this time he is already condemned. Yet we all stand in that moment guilty, who can save us? "Another book was opened, which is the book of life.” (v.12) If we are in Christ then He is our defense. There is no escaping the Judgement of God, we must endure it, and we can only endure it through Christ. What a terrifying and glorious moment that will be, I dread it and am excited all at the same time. The day is coming… Are you ready for the books to be opened? Is Jesus your defense?
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