Church Attendance (No. 1 in Series)

I have noticed a tendency for attendance to fluctuate back-and-forth from week to week in most churches.  There will be a decent attendance one week and, when the next week comes, there will be something like a 20 person drop-off.  This back-and-forth issue has been going on for a long time in most churches.

I started researching this issue in other sources.  I have learned that this is not only an RHCC problem, but it is an epidemic in American churches across all denominations and traditions.  For example, one friend from a United Methodist, city church of decent size said that the average attendance for their young adults is 1 of 4 Sundays per month.  Another friend from a Southern Baptist, rural church with an attendance of 1,400 per week said that folks come 2 of 4 Sundays per month.

Now, I have already presented this attendance issue as a “problem.”  Over the next several weeks, I plan to write articles addressing this issue and why I think it is a problem that must be fixed.  I am not concerned about this out of impure motives, I do not think, and maybe I can prove that in these articles.  I do not want to be legalistic or judgmental about attendance.  Attending church does not get someone to heaven, at least not directly (more about that later); and I am not one to only focus on “the numbers.”  Attendance, I will say from the start, is vitally important to the life of the Christian and the Christian community, and it must not be neglected or abandoned.

Can this problem be fixed?  I do not know.  It takes a lot to undue a culture that has been cultivated for decades.  Yet, my task as the pastor-teacher of the church is to share with you what the Bible says about the Christian life.  I figured that I had three options: continually stress over the issue; learn to ignore it; or tackle it head-on.  I am not one to shy away from a challenge, so I have decided to tackle the issue head on.  I will do what I can to teach our church what the Bible says about these things and to encourage everyone in their Christian Faith.

The go-to passage for church attendance is Hebrews 10:24-25.  There will most likely be many other things that I will share outside of this passage, but let us park here for a few weeks.  The author begins his final commands with the words, “Let us consider one another. . . .”  The term “consider” is the controlling verb for these two important verses.  The word means “to take notice;” or “pay attention to;” or “look closely at;” or “concentrate by fixing one’s thinking on something.”  What is it that we are to concentrate on?  Well, it is actually a Who.  We are to consider “one another.”  Christians are to set their minds on other Christians.  We are to look out for the well-being of fellow believers.  The Christian life is not an isolated life.  It is not an independent life.  We should not, and really cannot, go at it alone.  We need to pay attention to others, and, wait for it, we need others to pay attention to us.  This is where we start, “Christians, let us consider one another.”