I recently read an article concerning the declining attendance in many of America’s churches. According to the article, between 4,000 and 7,000 churches close their doors annually because of a lack of attendance. Christians have always worried about secular forces coming in and shutting down churches in an attempt to stop the gospel from going forward. Christians may not have to worry about anything like that happening because based on the article, church attendance is dropping off, not because of the lack of new people trying out churches, but because church members are not attending as often as they used to. It appears that many have found places and reasons for spending their time elsewhere other than in church. There are new mindsets in today’s society that have influenced church attendees. Many have decided that they can feel God’s presence better sitting along the riverbank with a fishing pole in their hand than they can walking into some church building. Besides, nature is God’s church since He created it. Others have decided that they don’t have to attend church to be a Christian. They can be a Christian at home as much as they can at church. To top it off, most of the people who attend church are hypocrites anyway. Such mindsets are not called doctrines. The reality of it all is that they are mere heresies, i.e., ideas that have just enough truth to them that they can deceive even the strongest believer if one is not steadfast in his or her faith.
Church in today’s generations is not nearly as important as it used to be in days gone by. Again I use myself as an example - that way no one can accuse me of talking about someone else. I can easily recall my parents taking us to church Sunday morning and evening as well as to Wednesday evening Bible studies. Then, whenever an evangelist would come, we would have revival services. Some lasted as much as 4 to 6 weeks, every night of the week except Monday. And there had to be a really good reason for my parents to miss any of the services. We didn’t miss services in order to attend a football game or soccer match. And neither did the children. But God was important and so was going to His house to be in His presence and with His people. It was important to hear His word and to sing praises to glorify God and to edify His people. That’s not the case today. If a church wants to have a revival service, they have to schedule one only 3 nights a week at most and that has to be from Sunday to Wednesday. That way, no one has to miss the Friday night football games because of church.
Many pastors whom I’ve spoken to are feeling the crunch in their churches. A drop in church attendance automatically means a drop in church offerings, which also means a drop in support to purposes and projects of the local church as well as the support to missionaries who are carrying on the work of God around the world. Just because some people decide to attend church less frequently, it doesn’t mean that the expenses of the church drop along with their attendance. I am quite concerned about the excuses that we consider to be valid for missing church. I’m not so sure that God is going to see our reasoning the same way we see it. The way things are going in our society, it won’t take much for secular forces to move in and take over many of our church because some are basically making it easy for a take-over. First of all, church isn’t considered to be all that important anyway. Secondly, most of the uncommitted are not going to put their lives on the line to stand up and protest a take-over. The point blank reason for the drop in church attendance and the closing of church doors is because of a lack of commitment on the part of many professing Christians. In a day and time when our churches should be busting out at the seams, there seem to be fewer and fewer seats filled from one Sunday to the next. It quickly becomes noticeable to the pastor and leaders of the church. But it also becomes noticeable to the non-Christians. And unfortunately, it’s difficult to win someone to Christ when Christians themselves don’t see Christianity important enough to attend church. We most often don’t even have to say anything. Our lack of attendance says it all.