Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Monday, April 4, 2016

How many church services should we attend?

  This is one of those blog posts that make me feel like I should put on my shirt that says "heretic"......if I really had one. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am politically incorrect and proud of it. I need to come up with a term to describe my nonconformity to church....well, maybe just "nonconformist" will work.

  Maybe it is just the religious and church circles I grew up in and have been in most of my life, but there is this idea that you should never question anything. Follow the church rules, go to every service the church has, and if you ever question anything or don't go to every service, then you are a rebel and don't truly love Jesus.

   I don't believe the Bible indicates how many services we should attend in a week, or how many services a church should have in a week. I have always attended churches that followed a similar schedule of services such as my church currently has:

Sunday Services Schedule 

Men's Prayer Meeting..................7:00 a.m.

Sunday School............................9:30 a.m.

Morning Worship........................10:30 a.m.

Adult Prayer Meeting....................5:00 p.m.

Youth Service..............................5:00 p.m.

Childrens Service.........................5:00 p.m.

Evening Worship..........................6:00 p.m.

Children's Chapel..........................6:00 p.m.


Prayer Service.............................7:00 p.m.

Monday - Friday

Men's Prayer Meeting...................6:30 a.m.

Spring and Fall revival services, usually Tuesday evening through Sunday evening. There is also a jail service some Sunday afternoons and a rest home service one Sunday a month.

But how much is necessary? What does God expect out of us as Christians and as a church? If you went to every service we had, are you truly resting? (Getting my t-shirt.....)

  After my parents became Christians, we were at church every time the doors were opened. I've heard preachers say if you love God, you'll be there for every service, and say if you don't go to every service; you are most likely having spiritual problems. I have even heard preachers say "If you go to church Sunday morning, you love the church. If you go Sunday morning and Sunday evening, you love the pastor. And if you go both Sunday services and Wednesday evening, you love God." That seems a bit harsh and a tad bit judgmental.

   It is rare to find churches nowadays that have a Sunday evening service. I don't know the reasons for sure, but I have a few ideas. The idea of no Sunday evening service seems foreign to me.... but I am going to try to tackle both sides of it.

For Sunday evening services:

  Keeping the Sabbath was a big deal in the Old Testament. That was one of the things God got angry with the Israelites about. There were a lot of rules down to how far you could walk. Then Jesus came along and healed on the Sabbath, and had no problem with His disciples picking some corn to eat as they walked through a corn field. When challenged, Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man; not man for the Sabbath. That statement has been used to excuse anything people want to do on the Sabbath from going to amusement parks to chopping wood.

  I was raised that the Sabbath should be a different day than the rest of the week. It was a day we did no unnecessary work or activities. No going to the amusement part, no laundry, no sports or loud activities, no going to the store or out to eat. We went to church, ate lunch, napped or took a walk or read, and went back to church. And I like it that way.

  So coming from my background, one argument I would make for Sunday evening church: If you are going to honor the Sabbath, why not go to church Sunday evening? What are you going to do to keep the Sabbath if you stay home: watch movies or TV with violence and cursing? Watch a sports team as they dishonor the Sabbath? Mow the yard, have a party? What does a Christian do to keep God's holy day if they aren't in church Sunday evening?

We need to be in church, and Sunday evenings is another great time to be there.

Against Sunday evening church:

  The Sabbath is a day of rest and to be in God's house, but can you have too much church on a Sunday that nixes the resting part?

  Look again at the schedule of services my church has. How much resting can a person get and go to every service we have, especially the Sundays that include a jail or rest home service?

  I have stayed home my share of Sunday evenings. Sometimes I wasn't feeling well, and sometimes I was just exhausted. The rule keepers would say I still should go, that being tired is no reason to stay home from Sunday evening church..... or is it? I can say I never felt guilty when I stayed home. I did worry what people thought of me, but I am getting further and further away from letting what people think or may not think of me be what rules my life.

 I personally do feel a church should have Sunday evening worship services. However, the way my church does it is a bit much. If I had the authority to do it, I would move the 5:00 children's and youth services to Wednesday evening and have a true Bible study for the adults instead of a mini Sunday service.

  The Bible doesn't say how often one should be in church. I don't know that God would care how many services a church has on a Sunday, but I believe He still cares about how we honor His day and that we truly observe it as a day of rest.

 Can church attendance be a sign of your spiritual condition? Maybe.....but I have become a firm believer that one does not have to be in church every time the doors are open. (See t-shirt) I don't go to many revival services for a few reasons, and don't go Wednesday nights for a few reasons also.....but I feel I am doing better spiritually than I ever have. Church is important, but you can be there every service and even be there to clean and help with VBS and have not one ounce of God in you. It is far more important what we do with Jesus outside of the church. That is what truly matters.

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