Does Regular Church Attendance Matter?

It is no secret that, statistically speaking, church members attend services today with less regularity than they did a decade or two ago. Even the definition of “regular attender” has changed over time. Twenty years ago, “regular attendance” meant a person attended his local church at least three times a week. Today, according to research, “regular attendance” means a person attends services only three times a month. And the trend is likely to continue its downward spiral.

With Christian radio, downloadable sermons, and more religious writing being published than ever before, the question is asked:

Does regular church attendance even matter? Spoiler alert: The answer is yes, for these 5 reasons:

1. The Church is God’s design.

Specifically, the Church cannot become “outdated” any more than the Bible or the family can become a thing of the past because it was designed by God. Even further, it was designed to be an instrument of sanctification in the lives of His people.

Historically and still today, God works primarily and centrally through the local church. Today, the greatest challenge facing believers in America on a daily basis is not persecution from the world but instead seduction by it. The moment a believer truly doesn’t need his church in order to live a godly, faithful life is the moment he should be looking for a new church—not dropping out of regular church attendance.

We need the church to help us live the way God has called us to live.

2. The Church is not a spectator sport.

The Church was not meant to be a place where Christians come to be entertained by fun music and enjoyable preaching. The Church was meant to be a group of believers where each member participates in acts of service and participates in shared worship for the glory of God.

It is a faulty and dangerous perspective to choose a church based on what the church will do for you—that is the definition of consumerism. Our job as church attenders is to ask ourselves what we can do for the Body of Christ.

God is the only unchanging reality, and believers should gather regularly to worship Him and help each other remain faithful.

3. The Church is not just an option.

Too often, well-meaning church members look at church attendance as one of several choices for weekend activities. It isn’t that they don’t want to worship, necessarily, but it could mean that something else sounds more fun and is therefore the better option.

And while it used to be that places of business, shopping, and dining largely closed down on Sundays, today Sunday looks like every other day of the week, so that church now competes for our time and attention with recreational opportunities, school functions, and work duties. Instead of demanding the world change its mind about Sunday, believers now have a greater opportunity than ever before to show that the Church matters.

One of the best ways believers can be salt and light in their community is by prioritizing attendance in the midst of more entertaining options.

4. The Church needs each member.

God has uniquely equipped every believer with gifts and skill sets that benefit the Body of Christ. Some are meant to teach, for instance, and others are equipped to lead or serve. But every believer has something to do that will be missed if he or she doesn’t attend faithfully.

It isn’t just (or even primarily) the believer who suffers by missing church—it’s the Body of Christ.

5. The Church is the place where the Gospel is preached.

The Gospel is not just for the lost—the Gospel is for each one of us. And we need to be where we can hear it preached on a regular basis. There is nothing in the world more important than the Gospel. One of the most important roles of the church is to unapologetically proclaim the truth of God and to change lives. How will we change without regularly sitting under its teaching?

Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

Bottom line: Church attendance matters. Pastor R. Kent Hughes said it best, “On the most elementary level, you do not have to go to church to be a Christian. You do not have to go home to be married, either. But in both cases if you do not, you will have a very poor relationship.”


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