WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE?
“The gimmicks are the only reason I don’t go to church. Not because I don’t believe, but instead I don’t buy into the modernization of the church and what it has become. Surely God is dissatisfied and disappointed.”
“I don’t go to church because churches are filled with hypocrites and people judging others for things they do themselves.”
“I don’t go to church because I don’t feel like I belong.”
“I don’t go to church because I’m introverted and don’t like being around a lot of people.”
“I don’t go to church because I can still get fed by watching it on TV, listening to a podcast, or watching a LiveStream.”
HOW DOES YOUR EXCUSE LINE UP WITH GOD’S WORD?
1. GOD CREATED US FOR RELATIONSHIPS
The opening book of the Bible tells us that God realized from the beginning we needed other people.
Genesis 2:18 “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone.’”
God created us to lovingly share the ups and downs of life together.
1 Corinthians 12:26–27 “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”
It’s hard to share life with other Christians if you’re avoiding going to church (the body of Christ). One of the best parts about having a church family is the ability to lovingly support each other in the tough times and to praise God together when we see His blessings.
2. GOD CREATED US TO ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER
Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Even in the early days, Christians were giving up meeting together for various reasons, but the book of Hebrews made it clear it was important to continue to meet together and encourage one another.
The book of Hebrews doesn’t say, “…giving up meeting because you can read about God somewhere else” or “…giving up meeting because you don’t feel welcome” or “…giving up meeting because you feel gimmicky” or “…giving up meeting because of the hypocrisy” … it says “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together.”
3. GOD WANTS US TO MAKE AN EFFORT TO GATHER TOGETHER
In 1 Thessalonians 2:17, Paul wrote we should make an effort to gather together, “But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you.”
Sure, you can get the same message delivered via LiveStream on a Sunday morning while drinking coffee in your pajamas sitting on your front porch. No effort needed.
But God doesn’t call us to just get a message. We are called to visit together as a unified body of Christ. That takes effort.
Effort to forgive the hypocrisy you might experience because the church, like the World, is full of broken people.
Effort to put your own preferences about the worship music and lighting aside (assuming it’s Biblically sound music) because the service isn’t about worshipping you.
Effort to step outside your comfort zone and get to know people.
Effort to put on clothes and brush your hair when you’d rather sleep in on the weekend.
Effort to become the welcoming person in a place you might not have felt welcome the first (or maybe only) time you visited.
Effort to recognize going to church isn’t just about what it can do for you … it’s about worshiping God, respecting His Word, and serving and loving others.
4. GOD CALLS US TO MEET FACE TO FACE
2 John 12:12, “I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.”
God designed us to bring joy to others. Sure, we can write comments on social media about the message we heard on the LiveSteam and call it conversation. Sure, we can message Bible verses and encouragement to one another over TXT and email. But nothing compares to the joy that we can share with one another when we gather in-person. The Bible calls us to get outside of words written down and to meet face-to-face
Last week we announced our church would stop publicly live streaming our services because we believe the Bible calls us to Worship in-person together. Sadly, I had more phone calls, emails, TXTs and public complaints on social media about the decision than you would believe. It’s weighed heavy on my heart.
Not one person commented this week about the solid message the pastor had shared about family disciple-making or the decline in the number of people going to church. Nope. All anyone wanted to talk about was how the 3-4 people (true number) who watch our ENTIRE Worship Service online each week would be inconvenienced by having to make an effort to do something differently (many of the complaints came from people who don’t even attend our church).
Then I opened Facebook at 4 a.m. this morning and saw two of the four excuses I started this post out with as comments on different posts.
I haven’t slept well this week. It baffles me that we spend more time defending why we don’t want to follow what God has called us as Christians to do than we do defending His Word.
I’m not a Biblical scholar, but I’m growing more daily in my knowledge of Christ.
Had I seen the excuses above 3 years ago, I would’ve gladly agreed with all of them. I didn’t go to church. I grew up not going to church.
But let me tell you people, I can’t buy those excuses today. I can’t because God gave those directions in His Word for a reason. Three years ago we started going to church because my 7 year old daughter asked to learn more about God. My then seven year old daughter put God at the center of our family (not my proudest parenting moment — but God uses everyone to reach people). Two years ago I was baptized, after God’s people who do go to church poured into me. Our family is so much stronger today because of our church family.
If you’re not in church, it’s time to let go of your excuse.
Fools find no pleasure in understanding
but delight in airing their own opinions.