How important is it to go to church on Sundays? Give it a number, from 1 to 10 – with 10 being “vital, most important part of my week, can’t live without it” and 1 being “optional activity, not really a big deal, I’ll survive without it.” Where would you rank church attendance? How important is it to you?
Recently I read an article about the current state of Christianity and the Church in America. Granted the study was published back in 2007, but the results are still valid as they speak about a trend which has continued in our country. The main finding of the study was this:
The percentage of people that attend a Christian church each weekend is far below what pollsters report. On surveys, 40% of those polled say they go to church every Sunday; but in actuality, less than 20% actually make it to church on Sundays.
(By the way, asking people “do you go to church” is like asking office workers “do you use the photocopy machine for personal reasons? What we say and what we do are not always the same thing :) )
What really concerned me is the conclusion of the report said “If the present trends continue, the percentage of the population that attends church in 2050 will be almost half of what it is today (estimated 11.7% in 2050)."
Wow! What’s going on here people? Studies like this tell me that we have a crisis in our country – not a crisis because people don’t go to church. The crisis is much deeper. The real crisis is that people don’t know WHY they go to church. We’ve lost our understanding of what the church is and why we need it.
We’ve turned church into an optional activity that we do when we’re not busy and the weather is nice and we miss seeing our friends at church. As the video above portrayed, we treat church with a consumerist mentality – what are you going to offer to me?
But is that what church is supposed to be? Is that how God sees church? Is that what Jesus intended when He established the church?
If you want to know how important the church was/is to Jesus, look no further than the price He paid for it:
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, … (and) shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28
What you pay for something shows the value you place on it? A jacket that you paid $10 for won’t be as valuable/important to you as one that you paid $100 for. The price you pay for something shows its importance in your eyes.
What did Jesus pay to establish the church? How much did it cost Him? Jesus thought the church was worth the price of His precious blood – now how important is it to you again?
- Why do I go to church?
- Orwhy do I not go to church?
- Or why do I say I am going to go to church but rarely ever make it there?
- How important is church really to me?
Later on this week I’ll talk about what I believe about the Church and what role I believe it plays in our lives. But before I give you my opinion, I want to hear yours.
For discussion: What is the church to you? And what is its importance in your life?