I once heard that there are three kinds of church members. There are the “Old Faithfuls.” What would churches be without them? God bless their souls! Second, are the “Once-in-a-Whilers.” They’ve also been called the “Up and Downers,” and even the “In and Outers.” They come one Sunday and stay away five or six. Then there’s the “Almost Nevers,” who show up for Easter and Christmas. Pastors know that Christmastime produces higher attendance at church services because all three of these groups are typically present.
Church attendance is not a minor issue in the Christian life, as some might be tempted to think. Quite the contrary, the Bible commands, “Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do…” (Heb. 10:25). The frequency of our attendance can serve as a spiritual barometer. This is not to say that everyone who shows up regularly does so out of the right motives or a proper relationship to God. Nevertheless, it is to say that no one in right relationship to God fails to take church-going seriously or dismisses it as inconsequential.
You know, I can remember when preachers of yesteryear used to ask congregants in their sermons, “Is your name just recorded on the church rolls or is it similarly written in the Lamb’s Book of Life?” The question rightly suggested that if an individual has an authentic relationship to Christ, it follows that he or she would want to be where God’s people meet for worship and plan for corporate acts of Christian service.
The Scripture says, “We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren.” (I Jn. 3:14) One assurance of having been transformed by the grace of God is the love in one’s heart for other believers. There is an immediate bond with them, whatever their race, whatever their class, or whatever their background. Believers want to be with other believers because they have a mutual love for Christ. The Scripture adds in the following passage, “He that loves not his brother abides in death.” (v.15) In other words, there’s something amiss about one’s faith if there isn’t present a deep affection for the people of God and a passionate desire to be with them. In fact, the absence of such is indicative of the need for a spiritual rebirth.
When I was in my early teens, there was a nice old lady in my community who was always asking me to church. If I saw her somewhere, I would duck and hide because I knew she would invite me. She was so nice I could hardly turn her down. I think I went with her once or twice, but I really didn’t want to attend. Church was the least of my interests.
Everything changed, however, after I surrendered to Christ a few years later. No one had to invite me to church anymore. I couldn’t wait to go. If for some reason my parents had to be away and couldn’t take me as usual, I would call that nice old lady to see if I could catch a ride with her. I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to study the Word of God, pray, and worship with other Christians.
The late Dr. James Montgomery Boice has written that if someone has truly come to Christ and loves the brethren, “[t]hey will not abandon the assembling of themselves together while substituting some kind of private religion…Instead, they will find themselves uniting together in a spiritual fellowship in which the Lord is worshipped and they themselves are mutually encouraged in the Christian life.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Rev. Mark H. Creech