This is a message that I gave last week at both our Long Valley, Idaho faith communities. It encompasses thoughts and feelings that I’ve had for quite some time but have not specifically addressed in the context of our congregations. So, if you are curious, think through what I’m posting. Ask yourself, if you do attend church regularly, “why do you go to church?” Once you have that on your mind, read a bit of what I shared. If you have feedback, I’d love to hear it!
“Why are you here?
Why do people go to church?”
An interesting question was posted last week in a Discussion Board in one of my Concordia U classes. A Mixed group of people was talking online and the subject of “church” came up, which it sometimes does. One student at the very outset of the Discussion said, “why and the heck do you waste your time going to church?” Now, one of the things that you probably have gotten to know about me – not defensive – not one who gets put off easily – and by no means, don’t get me started on the Offense thing (we did a few messages on that several months ago). So, when the question came up – several reacted…I responded the best way I knew how – avoided answering immediately…let the discussion hang out there for a week – then I decided to talk to you about the subject!
SO – you “church goers you”…let me tell you something that you may not know about yourselves – You are outliers – reason why? Church attendance is on the downslide – every major study done over the past 25 years – church attendance is declining rapidly.
Now, I don’t know why each of you are here, but here you are…we live in one of the most beautiful recreation areas in world – but you’re here – and the culture at large is SHOCKED!
The fact that you’re taking Sunday church attendance seriously…that is so counter-cultural because you may take Sunday church attendance seriously but…
- Television doesn’t take Sunday’s seriously (from a church perspective)
- Sports teams – schools – kid’s activities which used to avoid Sundays like the plague, that’s off the table
- Post-Christendom has created a sense of “ok-ness” with not participating in a local church
- What used to be a given – no longer a given
I don’t know if you realize this – but up until about 10 years ago, no one that I knew in any capacity of church leadership even contemplated for one moment the question we are going to go after today, that being, WHY are you here? WHY do people attend worship experiences?
They never gave it a moment of consideration because church attendance WAS so ingrained into people’s lives and even the culture, never had to ask the question.
No real reason to – I know for me, until last maybe 15 years or so, never bothered to ask that question – issue wasn’t why people go to church but why aren’t they coming to OUR church?
Well, all that said – let me ask you again the question – have you ever wondered, “why”…why do you come here on Sunday?
Now, before you get all weird on me – let’s say that this is a VERY important question. If you and I are not clear about this – then how can we have a compelling reason for asking someone to join us. If we don’t know what it is that draws us together – what makes Sunday morning worship experiences so invaluable that it takes precedence over every other life priority – then we relegate our attendance to either mindless habit, appeasement of guilt, or pure consumerism.
Each of which has massive problems when you start to think about it.
So, let me explore some reasons why I believe we come together – what could be foundational teaching for all of us to draw us JOYFULLY together on a week to week basis.
The remainder of the message is on the “notes” link below.