I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say this. And at the risk of sounding crass, normally the person that utters such a statement is bearing an expected lack of fruit in their lives. The Christian walk is designed to be lived out in community – not isolation.
I’m astounded by some of the studies I’ve read recently. Christianity is growing the most in the following countries: Nepal, China, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar*. Interestingly, these countries also rank high on the watch lists for Christian persecution**. China, a country where a Christian can be executed for expressing faith in Jesus Christ, is on pace to become our planet’s most Christian nation. I wonder how Christians in this part of the world would react to the statement, “I don’t have to go to church to be Christian.” I suspect if they lived in our country, they would gladly take advantage of the opportunity to worship freely and without fear. Yet church attendance is decreasing in our country where the right to worship is protected by our First Amendment rights. I find this unbelievable.
I firmly believe it is growing more difficult to persuade non-believers to attend church because Christians themselves have lost their passion for attending church. How can we honestly convince someone to join us on Sunday mornings when we’re not passionate about it ourselves? Even among Christians who belong to churches, attendance seems to have become hit or miss. Unfortunately, we no longer value church attendance as we once did … and our lack of passion for the church is negatively impacting our culture and the non-believers around us.
In my next few posts I am going to be writing on the importance of regular church attendance and I ask you to pray for your church along with other local churches in your area; I also encourage you to pray for the state of Christ’s Church across our great country. In the meantime, you may find this article from Thom Rainer’s blog interesting – read it and pray about your own church attendance.
Sadly, with the decline in church attendance in our country, it would not surprise me if it someday becomes common place to see Christians in China sending missionaries to the mission field right here in the United States.