Small Church Pastor and Church Attendance

After many years of ministry, the weak excuses people give for lack of faithfulness, attendance and loyalty still bother me. Church is family and when one is missing from the table, you notice. Please, understand, it is not about breaking a record attendance; we are past bragging about how many we had in morning worship but a real pastor grieves when needy people are absent from the house of God.

I found this humorous (but painfully true) letter to a pastor:

Dear Pastor:
You often stress attendance at worship as being very important for a Christian, but I think a person has a right to miss Sunday worship now and then. I think every person ought to be excused for the following reasons and the number of times indicated:

* Christmas (Sunday before or after for traveling purposes)
* New Year (Sometimes the party last too long)
* Easter (We have to be away for holidays)
* July 4 (National holiday)
* Labor Day (Need to get away again)
* Memorial Day (Visit family and BBQ together)
* Spring Break (Kids need break)
* School Opens (One last summer fling)
* Family Reunions (wife’s and mine).
* 2 Sundays for sleeping in (Because Saturday night activities
* Deaths in Family (Average two per year)
* Anniversary (Second honeymoon)
* Sickness (One per family member)
* Business Trips (A must)
* Vacation (Three weeks)
* Bad Weather (Ice, snow, rain, sometimes-just clouds)
* Ball games (6 per season)
* Unexpected Company (Cannot walk out and leave them)
* Time changes (spring ahead; fall back)
* Specials on TV (Super Bowl, World Series, etc.)

Pastor that leaves two Sundays per year. Therefore, you can count on us to be in church on the fourth Sunday in February and the third Sunday in August—unless providentially hindered.

Sincerely, a faithful member*

It is true many millennials feel one morning worship service a month is church faithfulness but we need so much more. Going to the gym once a month is not giving me the results I want. Eating healthy once a month will not give me the health I need.
Maybe, just maybe, we need to examine why we have the church and endeavor to teach more often on the WHY of the church. Does going to church make a difference in the life of a believer? One thing is sure; not attending church makes a difference in the life of a believer.
I was reading Acts 2:42-47 and found several reasons the early church gathered, not once a week, but daily. We may not meet daily but one thing I noticed, when the saints met daily, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Multiplication and attendance mesh. The more the early church met together – the more salvations occurred. The growth of the early church and faithfulness of the early believer interlocked. Now I realize they did not have a church building, but they met together regularly.
Some believers go to church for the wrong reasons but God designed a blueprint for the early church. Adults need to see this, teenagers need to know this and young adults need to learn this. Examine the early church culture, according to Acts 2:42-27, the biblical reason for church attendance, although not comprehensive, explains a biblical foundation for regular worship together. Read the biblical passage above and notice the essential points of church attendance.

I need SOLID TEACHING –a regular examination of the beliefs, doctrines and experiences of the apostles.
I need SPIRITUAL FELLOWSHIP –we need each other. While one is up the other may be down but we lift each other through fellowship.
I want to partake in COMMUNION–the regular partaking of communion, the bread and the cup, “this do in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. This communion portrayed the common union they shared through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
I need CORPORATE PRAYER–yes, you can pray at home and should but there is power in praying together. “Prayer” is cited in Acts 1, 2 and 3 as a regular and common occurrence in the early church.
I want ACCOUNTABILITY–living in a body of believers brings personal accountability for my actions, words and life. Church is my insurance policy against drifting into dangerous waters, my place for repentance, correction and direction.
I want to hear TESTIMONIES–sharing personal stories of God’s divine intervention bring faith and tenacity into the lives of the hearers. We often select one or two who can give a clear testimony of God’s amazing grace. Often, a testimony can enhance the worship service and the message.
I want to CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER–this is huge. When one part of the body hurts, we all hurt together. This past Christmas our church gave a struggling family a sizable financial gift to a family of seven, who suffered through a difficult year, they continue to be a blessing to our church.
I want to be included in DISTRIBUTION–missions, the widow’s fund, feeding the poor, filling backpacks with school supplies for needy children, serving the elderly in nursing homes and assisted care units, are all a part of distribution that can only happen within a body of people.
I like to SERVE JOYFULLY–fixing a meal, workday at the church, filling gift bags for children’s church and much more gives much more in return than what we give.
I love to GIVE–church provides a place for me to give my tithes and offerings for the work of God. Even though it is a command in scripture, “bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse,” it is much more a joy to see how God multiplies the little we give to accomplish the greater good.
I love PRAISING GOD WITH OTHERS–the music, the worship time, prayer time and intentional opportunities in the service allow us to praise God together. Hearing the voices of others, praising God, encourage me to praise God.
I believe in INTENTIONAL EVANGELISM–the church is an excellent source of evangelism as men and women, teenagers and children bring their family and friends, to hear a gospel message and respond. The call for salvation declared through the local church is God’s plan and it happens, right where people live.

I cannot wait for church Sunday.

*Letter to Pastor contributed by Phyllis Traugher

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or professional advice.

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