i was having conversation with friends the other night and the topic turned to church attendance. we were discussing the attendance patterns we have had during the summer months over the years…and lamenting the drop-off. this was not a new discussion.
whenever i get drawn into these conversations (or start them myself), it seems like we inevitably come to the conclusion that there has been a culture shift in the church through the years. church attendance appears less important than it was years ago.
in my 57 years, i’ve been actively engaged in the lives of five church families (21 years in my “home” church…5 years in a church during my later college and early married years…10 years in huntington beach…5 years in our church plant/missionary days in san diego…and the past 16 years here at north point).
i will stipulate that my life as a church family member has often been a little different than those who were not part of the church leadership team. i have been a church program organizer…an equipper of leaders…a manager of ministries and activities…an overseer of program budgets and resources…and a person who has been regularly involved in the lives of 100’s and 100’s of people connected to church stuff.
i’ve always felt that what i was involved in was important, life-changing and worth the time and effort of my investment. i’ve always been inspired and encouraged by those who shared a similar investment. and i’ve always struggled with disappointment and frustration when participation and involvement was low. i suppose that struggle will continue.
but there is another side. and we who are in positions of responsibility and leadership of church business…or should i say, busyness?…need to see things from a different perspective if we are going to truly leverage our influence for the good of the kingdom, as well as the good of people, in a healthy and biblical way.
there’s more to church than attendance at church functions. way more. and our ability to separate the two will go a long way towards shaping us into a community of christ-followers worthy of our name and calling.
this discussion is not for the faint of heart. stay tuned.