A survey was conducted in a large suburban area concerning church attendance. Four primary reasons were given for not attending church:
- They always bug me for money.
- It’s boring, routine, predictable.
- It’s irrelevant; it doesn’t relate to my life.
- I always leave feeling guilty. There is a preoccupation with sin and the negative aspects of Christianity.
Those who conducted this survey designed a church that was upbeat, contemporary and had only one offering a week, (on Wednesday evenings).
While there is some value in such surveys, Jesus gave a different reason for people avoiding His church. He said: “And this is the judgment, that light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God,” (John 3:19-21).
We do need to think seriously, however, about how we structure church. The worship service must be the centerpiece of church life. The key to designing a worship service is set forth by our Lord in John 4:23-24: “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit; and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
God desires a community of believers with whom He can have a relationship. The Father is delighted when we adore and worship His Son. The Son desires that we worship the Father and the Holy Spirit promotes all such worship and service and enables it. When God’s people are in right relationship with Him, worship is a natural and normal thing.
All of church life is to be designed to strengthen believers in their relationship with God and with each other. Ephesians 4:11-12, “It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”
People must matter to us because they matter to God.
We must remember also that evangelism is important. People must matter to us because they matter to God. Each of us must build relationships with the unsaved. No gospel tract or evangelistic program will reach the unsaved. Only a relationship of trust will work. Over 90% of those who come to Christ say it is the result of direct involvement of friends or relatives. A believer with integrity can do the job.
It is difficult to have meaningful relationships with people who have pagan values, who tell filthy jokes, and who have worldly ambitions. It’s easier to huddle together with believers who have the same Lord and the same calling. We need to remember, however, that there is rejoicing in heaven over one who comes to Christ.
Jesus told of His love for the lost. He spoke of the lost sheep that was precious to the shepherd, the lost coin that was precious to the woman, and the prodigal son whom the father loved. Our Lord has a love for the lost. It is so difficult to get people to build bridges with the worldly, but we must!
From the June 2018 Evangel News