I have finally found the answer to why people do not attend church “like they used to.” It is an elegantly simple answer.
They don’t have to.
Really, that is the answer. Why should someone go to the effort to try and work within a church community that does not want anything to happen except certain approved/required activities? Why should anyone attempt to reach the world with the good news of Jesus Christ while the church is more concerned with the light bill and the ladies mission bazaar? Who wants to be involved in a men’s group that insists on meeting Saturday morning at 7? Why attend worship when all one hears is a timid preacher who is trying not to offend anyone? Why attend Sunday school when teachers lose control of the discussion that decends into discussions of the political “developments” of the previous week? What teenager wishes to sit in a class discussing “getting saved” or some banality that passes for Sunday School literature? Of course, there is also the time consuming ever-continuing dispute over why the church never has money while some committee sits on a pile of it.
Who really wants to be involved in that? The truth is no one must put up with it. Every person who has ever had a job in the present marketplace puts up with these things every other day. The only reason they put up with it there is because their livelihoods depend on it. When the church offers no spiritual development or discipline, then the person who hungers for these things is turned off by it. Why take part if we get nothing out of it?
Why should they even believe? What makes Christianity different from the over-riding concerns of the world. Could Jesus have risen from the dead for what was just described?
People do not go to church because the church fails to be honest. We are playing games while there is a better one on TV. We think we must entertain while there are more pleasing distractions on YouTube, If the church does not connect what we do with Jesus, we are lost among a lost world.
What must we do?
Open the Bible. Meditate on the over-all theme of God’s love. Let go of the power struggle over authority that really belongs to God. Get rid of the theatrical and move toward the subtantial part of Christian living. Decide the poor, the lost, the outcast, the misused neighbor, the hurting, the handicapped, and the diseased are important again. Stop looking for guidance from “Christian” stars. Find a disciple of Jesus who can be a mentor. Bread and circuses are the way the powerful in this world hold the Spirit in check. Go beyond it and get in touch with the Spirit of Life.
Folks may never again go to church. Jesus spoke of the church and so did his followers. It was never spoken of as a place to go to to spend time there.