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Church Attendence

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deejay
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Re: Church Attendence

Postby deejay » Sat Jun 07, 2014 1:54 pm

At my church we have Sound Track classes, levels 1 through 6, though we have yet to do 5 and 6. In Track 4, which I'm taking, the focus is on being a servant. Recently our teacher read a quote from a pastor in another country in southeast Asia (senior moment, there). He was asked why the church in America doesn't see the dramatic healings, raising of the dead, etc. that occur in churches in developing countries, and he said, "Demonization."

Think about that for a moment. When we put other things before Bible reading and study, or church attendance, we are bowing down to another god. If we say that Sunday is our only day to sleep in, we are worshipping ourselves. If we say church attendance or studying the Bible conflicts with our favorite TV program, or hanging out with our friends, or whatever, that's actually worshipping and obeying demons. Because we are putting those things before God. God states in His Word that we are not to have any other gods before Him, and that He is a jealous God who punishes those who abandon Him for other gods. For most people, this concept is too hardcore. I remember when I was in Pennsylvania for 3 years back in the late 90s, I read an article in the newspaper about a family who were up in arms over a proposed ordinance saying people should be in church on Sunday. They said they worked all week, and Sunday was the only day they had to do anything. Apparently they either work Saturday as well, or they forgot that there is a day between Friday and Sunday on which everyone else does their yard work, shopping, cleaning out the garage, etc..
Another article had people protesting about other people condemning them because they chose to go to bars; they said they were bar people, and this is what they do. I might point out that York County, PA is a limited alcohol place; if you want to buy beer or wine, you have to go to a bottle store or a bar; same with the harder stuff.
There's a joke about Baptists that they have meetings for everything. I once had a joke book written by a Baptist minister, poking fun at the things Baptists are noted for, and one joke was after a nuclear holocaust, there were only five Baptists left. They had a meeting and said, "Next week, there'll be a meeting to find ways to increase our number to twelve."
But it's true. We all prefer to have a good time, have all the goodies available, rather than study the Bible and attend church, or do anything to promote the Gospel. And we'll have to answer for that in the end.

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Re: Church Attendence

Postby violin4jesus » Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:14 am

Our church has three services and lots of activities during the week. As a full time night shift nurse, I have to juggle working and my sleep to make it regularly to anything - church, doctor's appointments, errands, etc. I set my own schedule but I have weekend requirements I have to fulfill. This results in me showing up at any of the 3 services I can, or maybe not at all, if I can't get any sleep. Mostly if I work Saturday night and I'm off on time, I just head to the 8:30am service. I fall asleep 50% of the time during the sermon, but our pastor knows I work nights and he's glad I try to make it at all.

I play violin pretty regularly with two different teams, but I can never make the practices and I can never guarantee which services I may show up to. Once in a long while I'll have the weekend off and do all three services, but usually it's either first or second and the evening service, or just the first, or just the evening service. I'll text about an hour ahead to let them know I'm attempting to make that service, so they can have a direct box ready for me, but even yesterday they had nothing for the morning service, but the others were just guitar and djembe, so I played acoustic.

I have rotating schedules depending on what's available when I sign up for shifts, so I don't have set days I work, except that I try to keep Friday nights free, because for a long time we had a small group that met then. But it was led by our pastor, and they didn't want to seem like they were choosing favorites with about 5 of us younger couples (with and without children), so they stopped hosting. And no one else has a big enough house, so we haven't met for over a year. That's sad, because it was really good for all of us. But without anyone making the first move, it's unlikely we'll ever regularly meet again.

I can't commit to any other activity because of my rotating schedule. And most of the time I sleep 9am-5pm, so the Bible studies and all that are usually out. Like I said, though, our pastor knows my limitations, so there's no pressure to do any more.

Someday I hope to have the night shift "fog" out of my head and maybe I'll be able to have a regular life. :roll:

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Re: Church Attendence

Postby glorybee » Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:31 am

My tiny church has only one worship service during the week. I'm there every week, and I love it--but I'm glad that there are no more services than that one.

I'm not a person who enjoys a lot of contact with other people, and the social aspect of fellowship is difficult for me. God has created all of us differently--some love an energetic worship service with lots of enthusiastic praise, hugging and times of greeting, shouts of "amen" from the congregation. And that's all wonderful.

But others of us like a quiet, contemplative worship. If I felt obligated to be in church several times a week, "sharing" and the like--I'd be very unhappy. And if my church DID have several services, and I chose not to go, I'd hate the fact that I'd feel pressured to be there. Even if the lovely folks at my church DIDN'T pressure me, or judge me for not being there, I'd worry that they might.

One quiet service a week is just right for me.
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Re: Church Attendence

Postby Ltfaulds » Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:09 pm

I want to thank you all for all of your responses. It has been very illuminating I used to think that, other than those who had to work, those people who only attended once a week were "forsaking the assembling of themselves together". I assumed that most were looking for excuses not to attend church rather than looking for excuses to be in the presence of God. I know we do not have to be in church to worship and serve God. I felt that people were missing out on so much by not attending. I see this is not necessarily the case. The associate pastor at my church made a statement a while back, "If you arn't worshiping God through the week, then it is very hard to worship Him on Sunday or which ever day you do worship Him.
I need to throw out my legalistic beliefs from childhood, and try imposing them on others. But to just encourage all to "abide in Him". (John 15). This life is about our relationship with Him, and not about a bunch of rules to obey. But it would be nice to see more people out at the other services as well. Thank again for all your input.

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Re: Church Attendence

Postby lish1936 » Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:16 pm

Deb wrote:I don't need activity. I find a greater closeness to God, to be honest, when I'm just being me, at home talking to myself and Him in the general day to dayness.


Jan wrote:I'm not a person who enjoys a lot of contact with other people, and the social aspect of fellowship is difficult for me.



Love This! I'm there, too.

Could the reason for "Sunday services only" also be this? From a synopsis of: I Heard What You Said But I Saw What You Did

"I Heard What You Said But I Saw What You Did," Is a coming of age story in the life of a young man growing up in the walls of both the church and the 60's. For Anthony Johnson, the age was twelve. The year was 1968 in the northeast region of North America. The place was Jersey City, New Jersey. This year would always loom in his memory as his season of change, his epoch of inquisition, the first time in his life he recalls being able to separate the literal from the figurative. He would experience the impact of life and death, joy and pain, friendship gained and friendship lost. It would be limiting to say that this city. in this time, shaped Anthony's evolution. The greater influence was that Anthony was a child of the cloth, the son of a dynamic Pentecostal evangelist. He grew up under the watchful eye and scrutiny of church folk. He heard, saw, and experienced things that were, at the very least, life changing. His future belief system and social conditioning could be traced back to his relationship with organized religion. Traced to the church, as in the body of Christ, and the church, as in the edifice for worship. This milieu was his sanctuary and playground, his lead zeppelin and 500-pound gorilla. This was the place and the time when he realized there was a difference in what people said and what they did."



Sometimes only attending Sunday mornings services is deliberate for those who want to avoid cliques, politics and hypocrisy among "Christians."


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Re: Church Attendence

Postby Come forth » Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:48 pm

I assumed that most were looking for excuses not to attend church rather than looking for excuses to be in the presence of God.


To be honest, I think this is still true in many cases. The problem is that we can't judge when it is and when it isn't; that's part of the personal relationship we each have with our Saviour and a personal question for each of us to ask self.

My responsibility is to check out my own heart and pursue my relationship with Yeshua; and for me that means meeting with Him every opportunity I get. But there is no way that I think church meetings is the only definition of the word opportunity.

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Re: Church Attendence

Postby CatLin » Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:43 pm

Come forth wrote:
I assumed that most were looking for excuses not to attend church rather than looking for excuses to be in the presence of God.


To be honest, I think this is still true in many cases. The problem is that we can't judge when it is and when it isn't; that's part of the personal relationship we each have with our Saviour and a personal question for each of us to ask self.


Sometimes, it's easier for me to enter the presence of God in my backyard with the trees and flowers, and the birds singing and bees buzzing, than it is in the busy church building full of people. Other times, like tonight, I needed to go to church to be led into His presence. Actually He made it pretty clear I should go after already I'd decided I was sure I was going to stay home. He was right, of course. :)

I grew on a farm,and our tiny church had only one service, on Sunday mornings. If there was a event planned, I wanted to be there. There was literally nothing else to do, and mom would drive me to town for anything church. :)

These days, I'm actually at church 6 days out of 7. Monday through Friday I'm the secretary, and worshiping and "normal" fellowship can be hard when not a "church service" goes by that I'm not asked a question or shown a typo or something. My preference is to come early and pray before the service starts, but I've made it a habit of coming in as late as I can so the other members don't have time to bombard me. Of course, I've been interrupted during the praise & worship singing to be asked something.... and then there's the "after" time.

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Re: Church Attendence

Postby Ltfaulds » Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:13 pm

Proverbs 3:9 says, "Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:" Does this make us feel obligated to tithe? In a way it should. One of the reasons why Israel and Judah were carried off into captivity was because they foresook the tithe of the land. One year out of seven they were to let the land rest. They did not do this.

Proverbs 3:9 says to [tithe] of "all thine increase." A tithe typically meant a tenth. We general will tithe a tenth of our paycheck, but what about a tenth of our time? Is that not also a part of our increase? There are 168 hours in a week. A tenth of that would be 16.8 hours. 2.5 hours Sunday morning, 1.5 hours Sunday night, (I say Sunday just because that is the day my denomination chooses to worship as a group.) 1 hour Wednesday night. This comes to only 5 hours a week in corporate worship. We would have to have 2 hours per day for personal worship Monday through Saturday to reach our 16.8 hour tithe for the week. I don't think I come anywhere close to this. GOD forgive me! But it is easy for me to spend that much time, or more, watching TV, or doing things with my wife. And yes, sometimes doing things with my wife is a chore, and I would rather not do some of them, but I still do them because I love her and want to please her. How much more should we do things with God?
Sometimes in my personal worship, I still feel God is very distant. But in corporate worship, I almost never feel that way. I think this might have something to do with Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." So I personally need all the corporate worship I can get. I need to go even when I don't feel like it. Especially when I don't feel like it. Plus, I want to be faithful, because according to 1 Cor. 4:2 "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." I want to be found faithful even when I don't feel like being faithful.
On being faithful, not only is God watching, but we have no idea who else is watching us: children, neighbors, or co-workers. What view of God are they getting from watching us?

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Re: Church Attendence

Postby glorybee » Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:25 pm

My tiny church only has one worship service + Sunday School. Two hours a week. We find other ways to give our time to God.
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Re: Church Attendence

Postby Deb Porter » Sun Jun 22, 2014 4:34 pm

With the tithing of time concept, I think it reflects your image of God. You obviously have a strong pull toward legalism (and I'm not criticising that). Like I said before, I lean heavily on His grace through Christ.

God wants our time freely given. Not because we have to. It's part of our relationship with Him in Christ. And in the giving of time, would we not also count our service to Him outside the church? If we did feel a need to tithe our time as well.

I think it will be quite hard for you to be able to really understand where many of us are coming from. That's okay. Most of us have no problem understanding where you're coming from, though, because we've possibly been there before.

If it works for you, and draws you closer to the Lord, then that's great. For me, that concept of tithed time would make me feel like a hired hand rather than one of the flock.

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Re: Church Attendence

Postby Sparrow » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:36 am

My health has gotten to the point that I'm mostly homebound now, so unable to attend church most of the time. even before that I believed that the passages talking about not forsaking the gathering together can mean a lot of things. I do believe it's very important to have regular fellowship with other strong Christians. For many people this means a Sunday service. But I think it can be just as helpful for that to mean a weekly lunch with a couple of your close Christian friends. For me, it means a video hangout online with a group of Christians from all over the world.

As others have said, I think it's important not to guilt ourselves into thinking that fellowship and Christianity has to look like only one thing. However, just as important is not to use the freedom to let yourself not be active in the Christian community. I believe it is important for us to be interacting with non-Christians as much as we can, in order to witness, but just as important to be renewing our own relationship with God through the encouragement, different perspectives, and accountability we get from other Christians.

Is that what you were asking in starting this thread, or were you simply wondering where the tradition of a morning service on the first day of the week started? I suspect our traditional, sing some songs, listen to someone talk for 45 min, sing some more songs format is nothing like the original church shortly after Christ started it.
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Re: Church Attendence

Postby deejay » Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:26 pm

Though we don't teach tithing our time, I think it would be a great thing if we use any "leftover" time tithe to serve others. That's a form of worship, too!

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Re: Church Attendence

Postby Colswann1 » Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:57 pm

The Holy Spirit who oversees the church, that Jesus promised he would build come what may, and gifts and calls Chistians to certain ministries, so as to build up the brother and sisterhood in Christ. First Apostles then Prophets etc. etc. Of course there are exceptions to the rules but where possible we need to feed from God's appointed ministries - that is usually in what we call churches.
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Re: Church Attendence

Postby Deb Porter » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:23 pm

Sparrow wrote: I do believe it's very important to have regular fellowship with other strong Christians. For many people this means a Sunday service. But I think it can be just as helpful for that to mean a weekly lunch with a couple of your close Christian friends. For me, it means a video hangout online with a group of Christians from all over the world.


And that's it in a nutshell, Amy. Coming together to fellowship with other believers, in some form. Lifting one another up in prayer, encouraging each other, spurring one another on in faith.

And I also think you are very right in thinking our concept of church today is probably nothing much like that of the original church.

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Re: Church Attendence

Postby BettyDee » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:23 pm

So glad I found this thread "accidentally." It's something I've been thinking about a lot lately.

Our small church has Sunday morning, evening, and Wednesday night services. My husband is the praise and worship leader, so we go to both services on Sunday, but usually not on Wednesday. There is no music on Wednesday night.

We also usually attend a Sunday School class before worship service, but recently, I've not gone to Sunday School a few times. Part of it is because I have back problems (a "left over" from a fractured back several years ago), and it's very difficult for me to sit both through Sunday School and worship.

But really, there are other reasons as well. Our pastor tends to be VERY long winded at times, as in an hour or more of just preaching, and that is after we already sat for music, announcements, etc. He is a good preacher, but even the most interesting, anointed, informative message can become not so interesting if it goes on too long. People tend to get physically uncomfortable, and we lowly humans can only absorb so much information before our minds tend to wander.

By the time church is over on Sunday morning, I'm not interested in going back that evening. Also, as some others have said, even though I'm an extrovert, I feel a bit "overloaded" at church with all the hugging and carrying on. Even extroverts need space. I really need some quiet time to connect with God.

Our pastor does believe you should be at church when he is preaching, or at least that's what he has lead me to believe. I had actually made up my mind to do what helps me the most in my walk with God and not feel guilty about not attending any services I don't want to. This thread has helped me reaffirm what I already knew.

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