Friday, 9 March 2012

Does it matter if you're not at church every sunday?

This afternoon Premier Drive on Premier Christian Radio have been talking about whether it matters if we don't go to church every sunday.  What do you think?

I get asked this question quite a lot by people, as if they think I have the answer and as if somehow my opinion matters.  I always tell them that coming to church is a fantastic opportunity to meet with God, connect with your church family and thank God for all your blessings; but I also tell them that God does not require us to come to church at all. 

God loves us as we are, in our crazy busy lives and with all our responsibilities and obligations and activities.  He loves it when we find time to spend with Him but that doesn't need a church.  I know God loves that we come together as the church to worship God and support each other, but the church is a gift from God to us, not something we have to feel obligated towards.

I love church, I love the fellowship and the fun and the singing and the worshipping; but sometimes other things have to take it's place on a Sunday morning and I know that God smiles over me whereever I am and whatever I am doing.


Chloe Brewer said...

What a great piece, I think it's important to attend church but not essential. I haven't been out regularly for a long time because I have things going on that prevent it but it doesn't mean my beliefs change. I just want to be able to commit fully rather than dibble dabble x

Rocky Henriques said...

I've just got to respond to this. I understand your belief that God is smiling on you--and He is. But try using this same excuse with an employer: "Well, I didn't come in to work today because I just HAD to get these other things done." Or "You know, I realize you expected me to be on time for work today but it was such a pretty day I thought I would take the family to the lake."

It comes down to priorities. There are indeed people who attend church services each and every Sunday, not because they fear God will strike them with lightning, and not because they don't have other things to do. They attend because they have made it a priority--sort of an appointment with God that they will always keep, similar to the way you would keep an appointment with your doctor. It's on the calendar, the time is set, and other things have to wait--even if it's a pretty day or there's company coming over.

This is not intended to reflect on you or your beliefs. The people I know who attend church regularly do so because they love the fellowship, teaching and study, the prayer and musc, the growth opportunities, the strength and encouragement, and because they dearly love God and His people. They eagerly look forward to being at God's House on the Lord's Day for worship, and sincerely grieve when they cannot be there.

I heard of an old man who was nearly completely deaf, but who showed up for worship every Sunday. He could not hear a single word of what was said. Someone asked him why he even bothered, since he couldn't hear anything. His reply was "I want everyone to know which side I'm on."

So it comes down to this: I attend church services regularly because I need to. Yes, it may be a crutch, but we're all limping. And I want there to be no mistake whatsoever which side I'm on. I want those who watch my life and witness to know that I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that I am a soldier reporting for duty.

Emma Major said...

Chloe and Rocky, thanks for both your comments. I value the debate because it helps people who read to really engage with my own personal thoughts.

Chloe - if it's hard to get to a physical church, have you found iChurch? it's a wonderful supportive place which has so much to offer.

Rocky - I can see where you're coming from but I find it hard to agree. I know many people who go to church and think that that's the be all and end all. I know many others who can only come once a month but live a completely Christ centred life. surely it's a very personal decision and between one person and God.

Rocky Henriques said...

I don't disagree with the statement that there are those who are not ABLE to attend regularly (work, illness,etc.). But you will have to agree that many times people allow other things to supercede their allegiance and faithfulness. It's not a priority to them, so they don't go. Sort of like watching your favorite program on television: when it's on, we make sure to have the set on or else record it. We do that because it's important to us.