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Many people have an improper and/or unbiblical understanding of church attendance. Some people feel that they must attend church legalistically, being at church virtually every time there is any ki...
If your think there are acceptable reasons for missing church then you must imagine there are inappropriate reasons. Consider the story of the Good Samaritan and those who crossed to the other side as they went about their religious duties and the Samaritan, a very different man not expected to help at that time who stopped and helped. We should help our neighbor if they need our help. That may be a family member, or the person we pass on the way to church who has fallen over and needs help. If those in your church are judging you by your failure to turn up, they need to consider if they are actually Christians rather than members of a club that meets every Sunday to make them all feel better than others.
I suppose that depends on what your idea of church is. Is it the one that meets on a Sunday, in a building. Is it the people who meet in a building on a Sunday. Building or people? I go to a building on a Sunday along with approx 300 people. Truth is I cannot and do not have the capacity to know each and every person who attends. So in a sense I look at the Sunday meeting as a corporate gathering (consisting of believers and non believers)which I must admit I enjoy, there is something that is dynamic when so many people get together and worship our Father, hear testimony and so on. In our church we have a mid week meeting of small groups called 'community groups' hitch my wife and I have the privilege of leading. It consists of 13 people. It was a new group that started about a year ago which we were asked to lead. It's a diverse group, we have a couple of non Christians, christians who attend on Sunday occasionally (and I don't doubt or judge their belief that they profess). We never get a full turnout and sometimes no one turns up. It's been tough leading this group and at times I must be honest I have wanted to give it up. God has taught me quiet a lot in the last year. I must admit that when only a few turned up then something was wrong, I was doing something wrong. The first night when no one turned up I was devastated. In fact I got quite irritated. I prayed about it and I'm telling the truth here, I really felt God ask me "Bill what is church? My response was "when we meet on Sunday" he said "No it's every day of the week, I have trusted you with a group of 13 people now love them" That really hit me. I started to send a weekly e-mail on a Sunday night for the focus for the coming week, in fact at the moment my weekly e-mails are looking at the commands of Christ. So those who don't make a Sunday have some input/focus during the week as I assume they won't make the mid week meeting and the funny thing is when I don't do it I get asked where was this weeks e-mail, I also get thanks quite often (please note I'm not boasting) My wife and I keep in contact during the week with the people in the group. We really felt it was right to get to know those in our group, accept them and love them whether they make it or not. As a result we have one non Christian who does attend most times and wants to discuss the Christian faith, we have a lady who is really struggling with her faith, her husband works away from home a lot and is not a believer, her daughter suffers from mental health issues and is dependent on her, her brother is an alcoholic and is dependent on her, she is physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted and finds it hard to attend on a Sunday when everyone seems to be very happy and as she is not she feels a failure and our Father treats her accordingly. I could mention a few others in our group who are really struggling and I know they are. So here is the point I want to make. I have the privilege to lead a group of 13 people (I don't consider myself a leader but a facilitator) for some reason they have come to trust my wife and I. At times we get texts, e-mails with requests for prayer, they trust us enough and are starting to trust each other (we encourage them to talk to others in the group that they trust) I may be shot down but I have to say that cannot happen when 300 people only meet on a Sunday. In our group we have the non Christian who turns up midweek but rarely attends on a Sunday. The young couple with a young family struggling when the mother fell very ill whilst pregnant and sufferes today still but thanks me for the weekly e-mail, the mother who I mentioned above who keeps in contact and asks for prayer. To me that is church, when people who are accepted, loved, nurtured, not condemned they start to grow and when they do they feel safe to meet with 300 people.
Some church services are not fit for purpose, they do not do what they are intended for; to express joy in the presence of God and many angels, many people in one place who share their love for Father who has adopted us as His children. So church is a family gathering. Does your family sometimes get together for Thanksgiving or birthdays? Even when eating breakfast or dinner, is it in front of tv or do we as a family ever eat together to talk about faith and works that day? We meet to be family, to encourage each other with an attitude of gratitude, to deliberately praise Jesus and feel the love of our Father
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