Recently there has been a buzz around the interwebs (among Christians anyway) because of a post by author Donald Miller where he stated that he didn’t attend church often. After reading this post and many responses to it I wanted to clarify some misconceptions about attending church and throw in my 2 cents about what I believe the church is.
2 misconceptions about attending church
1. Some people see attending church as an obligation – they ought to do it.
Church is just another obligation that they have to do: like paying taxes, visiting the in-laws, going to the doctor or dentist and so on. These people go to church under duress or maybe as a courtesy to their spouse or parents. Now this in and of itself is not necessarily wrong it is just missing the point in a big way.
2. Some people see church as an event.
For some, church is just something that you do every Sunday like you may mow your lawn every Saturday. It’s just something you go to like the circus or the movies. By the way this isn’t a new phenomenon. A man named Thomas Fuller made this comment almost 400 years ago: “Many come to bring their clothes to church rather than themselves.”
Attending a church service versus belonging to a church family
The reality is that the Bible doesn’t teach that attending church is an obligation or that attending church is an event. As a matter of fact for the first 300 years the church existed, it was the socially and religiously unacceptable thing to do. It could get you fed to the lions!
But when the New Testament sought a metaphor to use for the church, time and time again, it came back to the metaphor “family”. There’s a big difference between attending a church service out of obligation or as an event and belonging to a church family.
You can attend a church week after week and never really belong to the family. You need to understand that the church is not the place you go to, it’s the family you belong to.
What other misconceptions do you think people have about attending church?