Photo Credit: A Wordy Woman
In the bible, Christians are commanded to go out and tell the world about the gift of salvation and God’s love for us. For many churches, this means Saturday visitation and witnessing to as many people as they can in passing.
After doing all of that leg work, one would hope that some of those visits would result in those same people we visit turning up at the church for worship services.
Taking attendance is useful for a few things. Of course, it is good to know how many people have visited the church for posterity’s sake. Also, forgive me because I am rather young and not well-versed in laws and non-profit-status rules, but churches may also need to take attendance to remain in the non-profit status.
But, for the most part, I find most churches (or people in churches keeping a mental note on who is in attendance and who is not) are keeping attendance for an entirely wrong reason. Here are three reasons I believe you should stop taking attendance at church:
IT ISN’T REALLY ABOUT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE
Having a small church is much like having a small business, except the stakes for losing business in a church could be, for lack of a better word, eternal.
At this point, I want to remind everyone that salvation is a personal choice. While it is our duty to live out our lives as God intends and the way Jesus would live, we can’t bestow salvation upon someone else. All we can do is witness, live right, and pray for them.
A lot of churches may be focused on the size of the crowd because they are worried about money. But, again, if we turn to God’s word, we find an answer for that:
“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”
I understand. There probably isn’t a person alive who hasn’t struggled financially at some point. But our faith in God and in Jesus Christ gives us hope that, even in the toughest of circumstances, God will provide. Personally, I have to testify and say that never a truer statement has been made.
Only a month before I was set to marry my husband, he was laid off from his job. That meant he couldn’t help me pay for our wedding or any of the bills. But I knew that God wanted me to marry him. I knew that this was just a road bump put in place by the enemy. And God stretched my dollars for a few weeks until my husband found work again. He does it time and time again.
The same is true for churches. God will make a way to keep the lights on. That shouldn’t be the focus of coming together to worship. Again, we turn to God’s word for guidance on this:
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
They didn’t have power bills for the church lights, and likely didn’t have mortgages to pay on big church buildings back in Jesus’ day. It’s like the saying “home is where the heart is” except “the church is where God is.”
God can convict your heart in a tent in the woods just as well as He can convict you in the pew of a church. He is all powerful and all knowing, and you can praise, worship, and learn more about him even if the light bill isn’t paid. Take comfort in knowing that.
NUMBERS COULD BECOME YOUR NEW WORSHIP
Another big reason why taking attendance could be detrimental to your faith is because harping on attendance can evolve into a form of idol worship.
Weird, right? But think about that idol worship sermon you sat through. The pastor probably said something along the lines of “if you become obsessed with someone or something, it can easily become your God.”
Taking attendance can do this to your church because, instead of focusing on God and spreading the message of Jesus Christ, your church may begin focusing on the numbers, attendance, and who is and is not sitting in the pews.
Even if your church has a secretary or deacon who is in charge of these matters, they can also become obsessed with counting heads instead of counting their blessings. This will cause the head counter to lose interest in the sermon and miss the opportunity to learn from Christ through God’s word.
IT CAN TURN MORE PEOPLE AWAY
Church is an option. Sure, you’ve probably been told by your pastor that you’re a heathen if you don’t go to church every time there is a service. It is this exact behavior that leads to people walking out of the door or that keeps them from walking in in the first place.
Let’s talk about visitors first, or people who have been coming to your church but haven’t joined yet. If they see that you are constantly approaching them with “who, what, when, where, why,” they will start to feel suffocated and might wonder why the church has to know every little thing going on in their life. If they aren’t even a Christian yet, this could be something that turns them away from your church and maybe all churches in general.
Again, this is their choice, but you can have a hand in it. Christians often talk about having a hand in someone’s journey to salvation and being used by God. Christians are still human and can still cause their fellow man to stumble. It is important to be mindful of nosiness and how it may come off to potential church members.
For people who are already part of your church, it is important to keep in mind that no one knows that person’s heart but God. Not even their family or spouse! It is also important to keep in mind that most people only “answer” to their spouses and their parents. You don’t know if they are visiting another church, visiting family, or on vacation. You don’t know if they are at home reading their bibles, listening or reading devotions every day, etc. It can be easy to judge based off of what you know, but many people’s lives are like icebergs. You only see what they want you to see.
So, take church attendance if you must, but be mindful of how much you let if affect your church and each of the members' walk with God. You never want someone to come to church so they aren't pestered about where they've been or who they're with. You want people to come to church to worship and cultivate a relationship with God. That's what it is all about!
LEGAL: All photos are my own or taken from Pixabay, a creative commons website that requires no attribution for photo use.
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HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN
There is a common misconception that there are several ways to get to Heaven when you die. This isn't true. JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN.
God is a perfect being who designed each and every one of us. He is sinless, good, and perfect. However, after Eve ate that apple, sin was released into the world and, as a result, everyone was born into sin and everyone does wrong. Only those without sin can enter into Heaven. But don't worry, Jesus came down to Earth and paid your sin debt do you could go to Heaven. Jesus is our salvation and offers us a way to Heaven. A way to live with Him forever. Here is what you have to do: