Church Attendance and Spiritual Health

Yesterday was Easter, a Sunday when many people who don’t bother with church show up. I find this logic baffling. I won’t begrudge people going to church, good on ya, but only going once or twice a year (Easter and Christmas) might possibly be used against you on Judgment Day. You can claim ignorance anymore. Your showing up on the Big Days only shows that you know something Big is going on, but not Big enough to actually take seriously.

Church isn’t what it used to be, and I think the whole Body of Christ suffers because of it. Church attendance is a decreasing habit in America. “Regular” attenders are now described as attending once or twice a month.

Now, I don’t guilt people over church attendance. I let people do what they think they need to do. You being in church because you were guilted into being there, is about as effective as you staying home. But you cannot deny that this irregular attendance is affecting the Church.

I’m not just talking about my church (in fact, I’m quite pleased with the increased regularity of people in my church lately), I’m talking about The Church. People don’t go regularly anymore and the Church is hurting.

It becomes very hard to pastor a flock when the flock always changes. It is hard to feel deeply spiritually connected, hard to want to become vulnerable, to a group that is not stable in its membership.

Perhaps most germane to the politics of the moment, it is hard for church leaders to teach anybody anything in a sustained manner if hardly anyone is present in a sustained manner. The moreĀ technical way to say it is that Christian spiritual and moral formation weakens because fewer congregants commit to that formation in any particular place.

You can read more of the article these quotes came from here.

Spiritual growth is based on the work of the Holy Spirit. Yes, each believer has the Holy Spirit individually. Yet the Bible makes it clear that when two or three are gathered together, the Spirit’s presence is magnified, more so than when alone. Ephesians 4 is all about the gifted people in the church that can help, and the mutual edification of the Body in Love that is not possible in isolation.

When people isolate themselves from the Church, bad things typically happen. This isn’t some sort of Judgment handed down by an angry God; it’s a natural outflow of rejecting the Body of Christ. When one member suffers, the whole body suffers. When members keep away, the body is negatively effected.

I think the individualism of Americans has done bad things to our doctrine of Church. Members of the Body need each other to maintain health. That isn’t me talking; that’s the New Testament.

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