You may be happy to learn that I have the same church attendance trends in my church that you have in yours. I have a handful of people who attend every week (and two of us are paid to be there). I have Chreaster Christians - those who attend Christmas and Easter. I have everyone in between. On average, it is safe to say that my people attend a couple of times a month. When I mentioned this to my Assistant Pastor, who joined our team a few months ago, he helped me learn that this is a nationwide trend. It didn't use to be the case, when I was a child. To be sure, there are cultural trends that have driven much of this, but it feels like there is more. To show my cards a little bit up front, I sense that we need a fresh look at our theology of corporate worship. So as I go through answering this question which headlines this blog, I hope to do so in a way that gets us thinking about the bigger picture.
Sorting through Unbiblical Perspectives
You have a variety of perspectives on this issue. Some people feel that the question shouldn't even be asked. It is a given that you should be in church this Sunday like every other Sunday. Within that perspective there are variations, but as a whole, I think of this perspective as a legalistic "God's gonna get me if I don't go to church" view. Virtually opposite this perspective is the "I can worship just fine at home thank you" view. Corporate worship, to these people, is completely unnecessary. I haven't come across anyone who suggests corporate worship is morally wrong, but I'm sure there is at least one out there. By now, I hope you see that the issue is not as straightforward as we may wish. With that in mind, here are a couple preliminary thoughts before I dive headlong into my answer.
Thinking Biblically About Corporate Worship
I showed my cards in the first paragraph of this blog that I feel a deficiency in our understanding of the theology of corporate worship drives some of this issue. Questions such as "Why is corporate worship even a thing?" For the scope of this blog, I will have to save a full investigation of this for later. I have worked my theology of corporate worship into the rationale below.
The Conclusion of the Matter
Should you attend church this weekend?
The biggest question
6. What is your reason for going? Are you looking to be a blessing to others, hear from God's Word, use your spiritual gifts in the service of the King, worship the Lord with likeminded believers and provoke others to good works? Then you should definitely go to church this weekend. Are you looking to drum up support against the pastor, flaunt your new outfit or headgear, find out from so and so how her trip went, tear down and destroy? Please stay home! What if your reason is legalistic enslavement to the idea that you will face consequences for "playing hooky?" I would say stay home. Come to church the same way you are supposed to give - not grudgingly but out of a cheerful heart. Come because you want to be there, not because you have to be there. The difference will make corporate worship a better experience for all involved.
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