In nearly a decade of pastoral ministry, I have heard it all in terms of why people don’t go to church. “I have to work.” “I’m sick.” “Covid.” The list of excuses that people generate for why they habitually skip out on a church service is nearly endless. Like the gushing waters of Niagara Falls, the excuses keep coming and coming and coming.
I’ve called church members who have missed months (even years!) of church, and the excuses pour forth. I’ve invited dear friends to a special event or program at church, and the excuses are many. As a local church, we’ve helped and counseled countless folks in our community with their bad marriages, addictions, and child rearing problems, hearing afterward that they’re so grateful and will be attending our awesome church. “We’ll be there this Sunday!”, they say quickly and with great excitement, but the following Sunday, they’re a no show. Gone. Absent. Not there.
And the excuses keep coming. “Oh, I forgot!” “I overslept.” “I’ll be there next Sunday!” As a church, we call, text, and visit in order to reach out and love on such people. And do you know what’s interesting? People tend to have no problem spending an hour or two at a coffee shop just shooting the breeze with us…People have no problem going to some church outreach event where hot dogs and burgers are being grilled…But an hour and fifteen minute church service (where we sing the truth, hear the truth, and try to live out the truth) is seemingly untenable to some of these folks. They kinda, sorta want to be there. But they’re not there.
I think the answer is drastically simple. THEY don’t go to church because THEY don’t want to go to church. Perhaps, as you read this short blog, this describes you. Let me be clear, gentle, and blunt. YOU don’t go to church because YOU don’t want to go to church. It’s really that simple. We all have the same amount of hours in a given week. 168 hours. In general, we choose how to use these precious few hours. Out of your 168 hours in a given week, a local church service will cost you between 1-2 hours a week. But the excuses keep coming and coming and coming…
Now, certainly, there are legitimate reasons to miss a church service. Sometimes we have to work. Sometimes we get sick. Sometimes covid is a real and deadly concern. I get it. There are legitimate reasons to miss church. But for anyone who habitually misses church, they need to seriously evaluate their hearts and lives, especially if they’re unable to attend church for an extended period of time (with a legitimate reason), but they’re not even tuning in online, or reading their Bible, or keeping up with their prayer life.
Friends, if you call yourself a Christian, but you don’t go to church, something is off and very wrong. Do you know there is not one single account in the New Testament of a Christian who wasn’t connected to a local church? Not one instance of such a “Christian”…Not one. Research for yourself…To be a true believer in Jesus Christ is to love the Bride of Jesus Christ, the Church. Do you love Jesus, but disdain His Bride, the Church? What does you church attendance say to this question?
So, will you miss church this week? What’s your excuse? As you grab your go bag of excuses, let me remind you of the Bible…Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” So, will you miss church this Sunday? What’s your excuse this time? I would kindly ask you to drop the excuses…But the choice is yours.