In recent years, the number of people attending church has been declining.
In 2008, a survey revealed that 42% of adults attended church on a regular basis.
Fast forward to 2017 and the answer to the same question was only 38%.
Attendance patterns also reveal that the number of adults who attend church only a few times a year is growing.
The main reason people attend church regularly is to "feel closer to God." Other reasons are...
so children will have a moral foundation
to make me a better person
for comfort in times of trouble or sorrow
practice their faith
On the flip side, here are the top reasons why adults do not attend:
As we talk with ministry leaders across the country, one trend we see growing is for families to attend church once a month or maybe twice a month. This is considered "faithful attendance."
While it is good for parents to have their children in church once a month, it is not enough. If a child is attending church once a month, he or she is missing 75% of the lessons. Twice a month would put them missing half of the lessons.
It is very difficult to help kids develop a solid faith foundation when they are only at church once or twice a month. They are missing a big percentage of the lessons. And then we wonder why they go to college and can't defend what they believe. When this takes place, it becomes a faith crisis and many walk away from their faith.
Is attending church still necessary? Absolutely! The Bible is very clear about this in the book of Hebrews. It says this...
"And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." Hebrews 10:25
This verse makes it clear that we should make attending church a priority. Notice it says to meet "together." Being around other believers is a big part of a person's spiritual growth.
To answer the question in the title of this article - Is Attending Church Necessary?
Yes, it is.
When I was growing up, there was never a question if we would be in church or not. We didn't check the schedule and see if there was something else we wanted to do on Sunday morning. Little League games were not held on Sunday. Many places of business were closed on Sunday.
In today's culture, Sunday is no longer a day reserved for worship. It is something families do IF they have nothing else on the calendar. Often it is not at the top of the list. And so church becomes one of several options.
They do all show up at Easter and Christmas. In case you've been wondering why your attendance spikes on these two Sundays, it's because all of your church members show up on the same Sunday.
Another factor to consider is online services. Many churches stream their services online. While it is a great outreach tool, it can hinder some people from going to a physical, in-person service. Which is more convenient? Watching a service while sitting in your favorite recliner and sipping on a latte or having to get ready and drive to a physical location.
The bottom line is this. Parents set the example when it comes to church attendance. Kids are watching the choices their parents make.
If we model for kids that attending a church service is optional in a Christian's life, then don't be surprised when they grow up and don't attend church at all.
I believe it is very important, even essential, for parents to show by example, how important church attendance is.
Yes, discipleship should happen at home as parents teach their children what it means to follow Jesus. But for parents to be successful at this, they must also show their children what a vital role the church plays in their spiritual development.
As children's ministry leaders, our goal must be to connect with young families and help them understand and grasp the importance of regularly attending church.
One time I have found young parents to be highly open to and receptive of this is when they are preparing to dedicate their child to God. What a great opportunity to help parents understand how important it is to attend a local church.
If we can help parents understand this, it can influence them to set the right priorities for their family throughout the time they spend raising a child.
I love what David says about going to God's house.
"I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord.”
You and your children simply cannot become all God wants you to be, if you choose not to have them in church.
You and your children need the church for...support...
encouragement...spiritual growth...opps to serve, community...godly relationships...worship and more.
You can get a copy of the Parent and Child dedication class and process at this link.
Your turn. What are your thoughts about current church attendance patterns at your church? How can we encourage parents to be more consistent in attending? Share in the comment section below.