Would you do something casually if you knew it could kill you? Would you juggle chainsaws? Would you scale mountains without safety ropes? If you like your life, you’d probably say “no.” Christians risk everything when they make a habit of skipping church.
There are acceptable reasons to miss church. Everyone needs to go on vacation, you should if you can afford one. If you’re sick and contagious, stay home! We’ll pray for your healing over the phone, ok? If your kid just puked on you, you get a pass.
But many Christians attend church only 1-2 times a month. Often people say, “I was just so tired.” “I really needed a day to myself.” “I don’t need to be in a church to worship God.”
There’s a Purpose for This
The purpose of coming together in corporate worship is three-dimensional. You worship God. (You can experience a manifestation of His presence in a way unlike anything else.) You allow the Holy Spirit to convict you through the preaching of the Word. And lastly, you encourage other Christians with your presence while being encouraged yourself.
Church is a Compass
Over the years, I’ve seen people walk away from God. There is a striking pattern of casual church attendance that precedes outright rejection of God. If you and I travel in a direction just 1 or 2 degrees different, eventually we’ll end up miles apart. People never leap away from God, they drift….slowly….inch by inch.
One friend told me once, “I don’t like attending church, I feel closer to God on my own.” This is a guy who attended Bible college. He no longer serves God at all.
Every Christian is susceptible to this spiritual drift. But every time you show up to church, you give the Holy Spirit an opportunity to initiate any needed course corrections. If you’re not disciplined enough to show up to church, you’re probably not disciplined enough to open your Bible and pray on a regular basis either.
Casual church attendance is fine if you’re a casual follower of Jesus. We read about those people in scripture. They’re referred to as “the crowd.” They followed Jesus when he piqued their interest or gave away free food, but when Jesus asked for commitment, they left.
If you’re the spiritual leader of your family and you casually attend church, you ought to just casually attend your job also, and casually attend doctors appointments, too. And by the way, if that’s you, you’re failing miserably. Stop sabotaging your family’s future.
Don’t wait till your find yourself miles apart from God, asking “How did I get here?” Commit to regular church attendance. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25).