In the latest PWB (Pastor’s Weekly Briefing, 2/19/10), there is an entry about church attendance and the percentages of those who attend within particular states. They recognized the top ten states where church attendance is high, and the ten states where church attendance is low. I found it interesting that of the ten states considered high, each one of those states would be considered a “red” state and the low states would be considered a “blue” state. Any correlation? The New England states (Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island) are all “blue,” and one “red” state also listed in the category of low attendance. Of the “high” category, they are all “red” states.
What about church attendance, is it important, and why is it important? Those who love the Lord will gather with others who love the Lord. Those who say they love the Lord, but don’t gather with the saints, many times, delude themselves. The Scripture is clear; the Holy Spirit considers it very important for the saints to gather together on a routine basis (Hebrews 10:19-25). In the early church, they gathered daily (Acts 2:46). The importance of gathering weekly was (is) for the purpose of participation in the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7; cf. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
Gathering together with the saints benefits us because we have a common association with people desiring to try to understand life and God’s role for our lives in the society we live. It encourages us to “hang in there,” because whatever “curveball” life presents, we are in the batter’s box and have good eye-hand coordination to make contact with the ball, getting a base hit. Gathering together encourages us to focus our attention on the One we worship. We are not there to be entertained, to be read to, to be sung to, but to participate in service to the Lord. It is very important and it is unfortunate when there are those who call themselves Christian who dismiss the Lord with their thinking and actions relative to church attendance.