Three Reasons Why You Might Be Missing Church

Three Reasons Why You Might Be Missing Church November 19, 2019

The light flickers on in the pastor’s office. He sets His belongings on his desk and slowly works his way through the church building, unlocking doors and turning on lights. “I’ve got to get some of the good stuff next time,” he tells himself as he fills the carafe with freshly brewed coffee from a can.

After all the Sunday School rooms are inspected, he enters the sanctuary. The early morning sun pushes through the textured, stained-glass window, illuminating the room in a rainbow of color. At the front of small auditorium hangs a wooden cross as a reminder of the risen Christ. The Pastor, eyes landing on the cross, smiles briefly. He will preach Christ this morning–as he always does.

In a few hours, members young and old, black and white, rich and poor, male and female, single and wed, will join in worship of the Almighty God in this small, unassuming building. Those on the mountain tops of life will join in song, lifting their voices together in hymns of adoration, with those in the valleys (Eph. 5:19). They will give tithes and offerings joyfully to the local work (2 Cor. 9:7). They will pray together (Acts 2:42). They will sit under the preaching and teaching of elders who have been charged with keeping watch over their souls (Heb. 13:17). They will partake of the Lord’s Table–remembering Jesus’ sacrifice and perfect substitutionary death on their behalf (1 Cor. 11:20-26). They will serve each other (1 Pt. 4:10) and work toward the furthering of the Gospel in their local mission field and the mission field abroad (Matt. 24:14). They will hold each other accountable to walk in holiness (Gal. 6:1-2). They are more than a club; they are a family under the headship of the risen Savior (Eph. 5:23).

A Christ-centered local body is a delightful foretaste of heaven; a grand opportunity to set self aside and worship the King of Kings with other Christians. Yet, many who profess to be Christians will miss this glorious weekly opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, there are legitimate reasons for missing the gathering of the local body. I think of the many illnesses that circulate each year, the shut-ins who desire to make it to church, but simply cannot due to being stuck in home-bound, “ox in the ditch” situations (Luke 14:5), and many other sovereignly organized reasons. However, many of the most common reasons professing Christians miss church fall into one of three categories: the down, the defiant, or the drowsy.

 

The Down

I once had dinner with an ex-Christian woman and her atheist boyfriend who had spent many years in the church as a small child. The severing moment came when her father, who was also the pastor of their church, left this woman and her mother for his secretary. “He left with her and the church just left me and my mom. It’s like they didn’t know what to do, so they just ignored us. In one night, I lost my dad, my pastor, and my church family. It was difficult and embarrassing. How could God let that happen? I was just a little girl,” she said through tears.

My heart broke for this woman. Yes, I understand the theological implications of her rejecting Christ. Yes, I know that everyone is accountable to Jesus. But I also understand that it would have been better that a millstone be tied around that man’s neck and he be cast into the sea, than left to offend his little daughter (Matt 18:6).

While many exaggerate their hurts (leaving the church for things they wouldn’t dream leaving a job, hobby, or club over) there is no shortage of people who have been truly hurt by careless Christians and false converts that attend services on a weekly basis. I am speaking now to the genuine believer who has found themselves adrift after some great hurt. Dear injured one, can I beg you to look to Christ! Your ills are not with the church, but sinful men. If you are a believer you do not have the option of saying, “Well, I love Jesus and hate the church.” It was for those very sinful wretches that the Lord of Glory gave Himself over. Have you been betrayed? So has your Lord. Have you been abused? So has your Lord. Have you been maligned, lied about, and looked upon with disgust? So was He! Yet, for many of those persecutors He hung on the tree. Jesus loves the church, organized the church, and grows the church. Can you find forgiveness for those who have injured you as the Lord has forgiven you, a great injurer?

 

The Defiant

There is still another kind of professor of the Christian faith that makes a regular habit of missing the Lord’s Day services–the defiant. Those that would view themselves as an island with no need for preaching, teaching, accountability, corporate worship, or shepherds. These are individuals who will come up with any excuse to combat the Lord’s command to no forsake the assembly; and oh, do the defiant have excuses.

I regularly have people repeat to me the tired motto, “You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian,” to which I reply, “No, but Christians want to go to church.” If this is you, seriously ask yourself this question, “If I am a believer, why do I not DESIRE to go to Church?”

Others believe they have outgrown the church–proving they have little to no knowledge of God’s Word, God’s purposes, the role of the church, and their part in it. Still others, like an evangelical Goldilocks, find problems with every provision and forgo the service for the most minor things. These individuals find the sermons to be boring, the music to be lacking, the chairs too uncomfortable, the auditorium too cold, the parking lot too full, the church too big, the church too small, and on goes the mind-numbing list. Others, perhaps in greater rebellion, will use skipping church as a weapon against the pastor, a spouse, or some other individual in the congregation.

My question again is: why? Why would you want to miss the beauties and benefits of Sunday if you profess to know the Lord? Do you not like the Lord’s people? 1 John 4:20 reminds us that we cannot love God and hate our brothers. Do you find the things of God boring? Friend, they are the most precious things to a believer’s heart. Mr. and Mrs. Defiant, if you are truly believers (a matter I hope you thoroughly examine), it is time to stop with your prideful rebellion. The Lord has made His command, “Do not forsake the assembly of yourselves…” (Heb. 10:25). Now is the time for obedience (John 14:15).

 

The Drowsy

Complacency is a vile thing. As we get busy in life, we tend to marginalize the important spiritual matters. In a world as busy as ours, it is all the more important to stop, rest, and worship. Often, we fall out of the pattern of going to church without even realizing that is has happened. Are you too tired to go to church? Might I suggest making radical changes to your lifestyle that would help you be able to experience worship on the Lord’s Day? This may include a change in sleep patterns, change of hobbies or even jobs, and cutting non-essential activities out (you should not be too tired for church because you stayed up all night in front of the computer or television). You will be glad that you did!

“Well, I just can’t find a good church in my area.” Then move. If there are truly no biblical churches around, the best thing you can do for your spiritual health and that of your family is to find a place that does. Ephesians 5 tells us, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

 

As a final word to all three types: can I encourage you to stop with the excuses, no matter what they may be, and show yourself to be a child of the King by joining with a local church family this Sunday for worship?


This was a guest post from Blake Laberee. Blake is a husband, father of two, and the lead Pastor of a small Baptist Church in the Pacific Northwest. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministry and was a Youth Pastor for five years. Blake averages one book per week, is an avid outdoorsman, and is a fan of Phillies Baseball.


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  • Louis Wachsmuth

    I found myself very interested in the topic. The topic had to do with “how to convince the church drop-outs to come back.” This is a topic that has interested me for decades. Several years back, I decided to quit church attendance and participation. Being a 72-year-old man, having come to the Lord in 1963 through the Young Life ministry, having been active in a dozen conservative, evangelical type churches in different States, been an AWANA leader, Sunday school teacher, deacon, physical property maintenance, etc, I decided to quit the church. If you are interested in having a dialog about this issue, I can send several of my thoughts in essay form for your examination. I realize this is a very emotional issue, one that pastors ignore or simply parrot vague answers. You probably will not enjoy the content of my thoughts, based on decades of experiences, involving interactions with many pastors. I ask tough questions, but I have discovered church leaders and spokespersons do not really want questions from the people. Are you willing?

    • Mike Stidham

      I suppose this would classify me amongst the drowsy, but I went through a short period where I’d dread Sunday morning simply because I didn’t want to go to church. AT ALL.
      Part of the issue was that I work full time in a social-service ministry, and going to a church where we were constantly exhorted to “do something for Jesus”…that just sounded too much like work to me. If I’m going to take a day for a sabbath rest, I DON’T want to hear about what I do the other six days! I need to be able to rest in God’s love, confident that I am saved by faith in Christ, not by how many things I do to fight oppression, etc.

      I ended up stumbling into a church that preached salvation by grace through faith, not of works.

      That said, as a 61-year-old, I have discovered that church leaders don’t really like questions all that much. Many find them threatening. I’ve always found those questions an opportunity to grow, and I welcome them!

      • Louis Wachsmuth

        Thank you for your comment. I bet there are lots of people like us, but our concerns are ignored. I went the ‘extra mile’ and found the author’s church and sent an email copy of my thoughts. And, as you might guess, zero response. That’s not the first time. However, one pastor did answer but ignored all my concerns and spent much time telling me that I probably wasn’t saved, needed to repent, find Jesus, etc. Oh well.

  • Paul Veenendall

    I left church based on reason being we walk by faith not by site. All the churchs in my town are 501(c)3 churchs holding hands with God and Baal. Its Gods church via Jesus Christ. The Federal Gov under such tax exempt status can tell you what you can and cannot say do and cannot do. I will have no part with such a church. Look into it you will find its true. I am on a site headed by former Baptist Pastor Chuck Baldwin. Many people around the country like me are churchless for this same reason all of us including me are on a list with our emails to be notified when a church in our areas of the US has a new non 501(c)3 church starting up. When such a Baptist church does in my area I will start going. Also Pastors are all required to be members of the clergy response team if they are granted 501(c)3 status. Want to know what is this team? What are they required to do and when? Look up the name research it and decide is this a kind of church you want to be attending? I and others like me around this country do not. I hope people will take a stand and stop attending such churchs and work towards attending non 501(c)3 churchs and walk by faith not by sight.

  • tovlogos

    Thanks, Blake…true. The categories are actual, yes, and there are still other reasons. In my official capacity in church
    for years I have seen many things and met many people. Many things can be accomplished in a scripturally sound
    church and these things have been accomplished despite our gross shortcomings — due to one and only one reason revealed
    in John 16:8 — “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:..”
    Having led small intimate groups where people were anxious for more church, I was actually working with the local church
    since my ministry included the people most likely never to be seen in a church door and I didn’t hesitate to make recommendations.
    I also kept an eye on “church news” coverage — churches were closing en mass and a recent statistic stated churches are
    closing as of this year at rate of about 5000 per year. There is a vital necessity for imbuement by the Holy Spirit in the Church.
    I cannot in good conscience recommend a ‘church’ that is not biblically sound.
    You know very well how many people have said they have looked ‘years’ for a church. One pastor exclaimed “don’t leave your church!”
    And that’s it! There are churches that ordain transvestites these days, even Lutherans. Nowadays that’s no anomaly. For centuries
    the Church has been an abomination.
    All sorts of people are being ordained to run churches. And say something contrary…in public.
    So, yes I am with you but it’s not as simple as it may seem. I was with a thriving church for years — it was perfect (relatively).
    Then one day wealthy people started coming in and forcing them to make changes that was a spiritual renovation.
    I’ve also seen and/or read about mind-numbing racism in the ‘church’. Am I complaining? Absolutely not — just stating a few facts.
    So, I agree with you knowing that no church will be quite the church that appeared in Antioch; and it doesn’t have to be
    that ostensibly perfect — it just has to be on the Narrow Path. It’s no accident that Satan is attacking (Ephesian 6:16) the church
    viciously — look at who is being ordained — what better place would the devil want to dominate?
    That would be a forecast of his lust to be God. which he will do in the 3rd Temple that will be built. Today the devil is making
    great headway through impressionable children and the church. Yes, the the milestones are being fitted.
    Although I agree with you in intent as Jesus did from Old to New, we need a spiritual upgrade.

    There is an odd interpretation of a passage is Ephesians 4:5 — “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all…”
    The Protestant church calls that baptism/immersion “water Baptism”. Is it any wonder the Holy Spirit (seems so far away) Who happens to be very busy, John 3:8; 1 Corinthians 2:10, etc.? and stops to indwell someone who has a ‘sincere’ Romans 10:9-10, and thus a true John 3:3 experience?
    Matthew 28:19 is good to be a Protestant if you think that is some sort of command to immerse people in physical water; but it the Protestant interpretation
    in the active voice giving mankind the ability to “make” a disciple — which is not in the Greek. Man’s command is to bring the Gospel to every piece of terra firma on the planet — only the Holy Spirit can “make” disciples which is why Jesus sent Him, John 16:1-9.
    Mankind is out of control — People, for example, believes they can ‘Loose’ (Matthew 16:19) in the active voice and God is suddenly is in the passive voice. People also believe they can rewrite Scripture! Some of us have the nerve to think we can carry the weight of God’s church on the backs of sinful fallen creature. And so on…So, it not that simple.
    Thanks so much, Blake. Blessings, brother.

  • Louis Wachsmuth

    How many times is this site going to recycle the same posts? Find some new material or shut it down. Or, better yet, require the author to answer comments, of which this person won’t though sent directly to him.

  • Louis Wachsmuth

    Three days later, this site runs the same essay again. What’s the problem? No creativity in the leadership of the evangelicals? Is this why also sermons are so repetitious and boring? Could this be a reason thoughtful Christians quit going to church?

  • A Amos Love

    Hmmm?

    This author asks…
    “If I am a believer, why do I **not DESIRE** to go to Church?”

    Well, while reading The Bible…
    I had this DESIRE to become one of His Disciples…

    I just thought, **His Disciples** in the Bible…
    Would be a good example to follow.

    When researching **His Disciples,** I noticed, in the Bible…
    Jesus, NEVER taught **His Disciples** to “Go to church.”
    NOT one of **His Disciples** ever taught another Disciple, “Go to church.”
    NOT one of **His Disciples** would ever, **Go to church.**

    If Jesus did NOT teach His Disciples to “Go to church?”
    If His Disciples did NOT teach another Disciple to “Go to church?”
    Why should I “Go to church?”

    I began to realize, when today’s pastors say the word “church”…
    And The Bible says the word “Church,”
    It just ain’t the same thing… 🙂
    —————

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **THEIR shepherds**
    have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to
    the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}}

  • A Amos Love

    Has anyone ever wondered? Why? In the Bible?
    Jesus, never taught… nor any of His Disciples…
    Go to Church? Or, Attend a Church?

    Makes an interesting study. An interesting challenge.
    Printout every verse with the word “church” in it…
    Read, over and over, again and again, and…
    And ask yourself… Ask Jesus…

    In the Bible?
    Did any of **”His Disciples?”**
    Ever?

    1 – *Go to* Church?
    2 – *Join* a Church?
    3 – *Lead* a Church?
    4 – *Plant* a Church?
    5 – *Pastor* a Church?
    6 – *Attend* a Church?
    7 – *Tithe* to a Church?
    8 – *Look for* a Church?
    9 – *Teach* Go to Church?
    10 – *Bring their friends* to Church?
    11 – *Become Members* of a Church?
    12 – *Apply for Membership* in a Church?
    13 – *Call themselves, Pastor,* in a Church?
    14 – *Call themselves, Leader,* in a Church?
    15 – *Call themselves, Reverend,* in a Church?
    16 – *Give Silver, or Gold, or Money* to a Church?
    17 – *Build a building with a Cross* and call it Church?

    18 – *Were any of **His Disciples,** ever Hired?
    As a Paid, Professional, Pastor, in a Pulpit?
    Preaching, to People in Pews?
    Weak after Weak?
    In a church?
    ——-

    NOPE…
    NONE of these 18 things exist in the Bible…
    For one of **His Disciples.**

    If being one of His Disciples is important? For you?
    Wouldn’t His Disciples in the Bible be a good example?
    To follow?

    If, In the Bible…
    Jesus did NOT teach **His Disciples** to DO these things?
    And, **His Disciples** did NOT DO or Teach these things?

    Why do WE, His Sheep, His Disciples, His Ekklesia?

    What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
    What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

    • ingridcrozier

      3 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

      24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

      25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
      Its for our edification and Also ” The Lord inhabits the praises of this people. OT but Gods people have always met to gether for worship and the word.
      Muzzel not the OX verse implies that there will be people who do the lions share of the teaching and they should be compensated. Hence , pastors.

      • A Amos Love

        ingridcrozier

        Thanks for the reply.

        Much agreement when you write…
        “Gods people have always met to gether for worship and the word.”

        Your challenge is how folks today use the word “church.”
        Have you ever done your own research? About “church?”
        That’s why I recommended reading every verse.

        And… In the Bible…
        It seems Paul, and most likely Jesus…
        Had a better idea when brethren meet together…

        When God’s people come together…
        ALL can, and are expected to Participate.

        1 Cor 14:26 KJV
        How is it then, brethren?
        **when ye come together,**
        **every one of you**
        hath a psalm,
        hath a doctrine, (Teaching)
        hath a tongue,
        hath a revelation,
        hath an interpretation.
        Let all things be done unto edifying.

        Have you ever been part of a meeting like this?
        Where Jesus, He is the head of the Body, The Church?
        If NOT? Why NOT?

        Yes, In the Bible…
        “ALL” can, and are expected to,
        “Participate.”

        NOT listen to just “one,” and…
        “Regurgitate.”
        ——-

        Jer 22:22 KJV
        The *wind shall eat up all “Thy Pastors,”

        (*wind = ruwach = breath, spirit.)

      • A Amos Love

        ingridcrozier

        You also mention pastors.

        Today, very little of what a “Titled,” pastor gets paid to do…
        Is in the Bible.

        Your challenge is how folks today will use the word “pastors.”
        Have you ever done your own research? About “pastors?”
        That’s why I recommend reading every verse…
        With the word “pastor,” “shepherd,” in it…
        And see if looks anything like what…
        WE, His Sheep, His Disciples…
        See on Sunday Morning?

        Paid, Professional, Pastors, in Pulpits?
        Preaching, to People in Pews?
        Weak after Weak?
        ——-

        In the Bible, I can NOT find…
        One of **His Disciples** who took the “Title” pastor…
        Or shepherd. Or leader. Or reverend.

        I might have missed it…
        Maybe you can help…

        In the Bible? Can you name?
        One of **His Disciples** who took the “Title,” pastor?
        Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend?

        One of **His Disciples** who called themself pastor?
        Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend?

        One of **His Disciples** who was “Hired” as a…
        Paid, Professional, Pastor, in a Pulpit?
        Preaching, to People in Pews?
        Weak after Weak?
        ——-

        Jer 50:6
        “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
        **THEIR shepherds**
        have caused them to *go astray,*

        1 Pet 2:25
        For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
        BUT are now returned to
        the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

        {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  • Jonathan Fernandez

    It took me over 40 years to figure out that the abuse I faced as a child in church was done by flawed, human, people. Thank goodness I did so, and now there’s nothing I look forward to each week as much as going to church.

  • Eileen