Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Top Ten Reasons Why People Don't Go to Church

First off, we are probably fighting a losing battle with language here, but technically we don't 'go' to church.  We gather with the church and we assemble with the church, but it's not precise to say we go to church in the sense of the 'church'being made the bricks, carpet, and pews. The church regularly gathers on the Lord's Day. It may be in a home, a shop, a traditional building, or underground secret place. Wherever the church may be gathering, we aren't going to it, as much as we are gathering with it. It is important to keep in mind that we do go to the the assembly. It's not 'church' that you have out on the lake just because you say "hey I am the church!" 

I do think this is vital in understanding why people don't gather with the church. And in fact, I'm not going to follow through with my title. I'm not going to give 'ten reasons' why people don't gather with the church. Instead, I'm just going to give the reason why people don't gather with the church. This theological truth is so mind blowing, you may need to brace yourself.

Are you ready?

The number one reason people don't gather regularly with the church:

1. They don't want to

The church is Christ's bride. He sought her. He bought her. He owns her, and He loves her with an eternal love. The church is comprised of those who by grace have turned from their sin and trusted Christ for their salvation. They have been clothed in His righteousness. And because of this grace upon them they love Christ.

This is very simple to understand, but so hard for us to accept sometimes because of those we know who don't assemble regularly with the church: Those who love Christ love to gather with His church. Those who love Christ are part of the church. Those who don't love Christ, do not love to gather with His church. Those who do not assemble regularly don't love Christ (although many who don't love Christ may gather, and even serve in church leadership, it's not because they love Christ. Rather they feel they 'have' to, or they enjoy the popularity, or they love a false idea of God, or there are various other reasons...).

1 John 3:14 says We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.

We often think of love as simply a feeling. Now, love does involve feeling, but it's deeper than that. It's more than just 'I hope nothing bad happens to them' or 'I hope something good does happen to them.' Rather, it's actually taking an active part in seeking the good of another.

Can lost people love? Of course! Even a ravenous wolf loves her cubs. But that's the issue. A lost person loves himself and his own. He has no true desire to love those not like him.

So, with a good desire I believe, many people have thought 'how can we get 'unchurched' people in church?' (Something I've blogged about recently HERE).

But see, lost people don't want to come to church. Not for the right reason anyway. Not because they  love Christ and love the brothers. They aren't 'coming to church' because they don't want to. And no amount of lights, smoke, lattes, cowboy hats, guitar solos, or chainsaw juggling will get them to gather with the church for the right reasons. (Again, I'm not saying that every person who does attend regularly is saved. It's obvious this is not true from the New Testament and from what we see in our current predicament in the Bible Belt.)

Oh, but if we do those things lost people will come and hear the gospel!

What gives you the right to make the local church gathering into an evangelistic event? What gives you the right to offer strange fire so that 'lost people' can be 'won' to Christ?

See, there is a better way.

What if we gave our entire church service over to pleasing God first? What if we made the church attractional to the church, meaning we set Christ as preeminent over every aspect of the service? What if we intentionally did not care if 'church' was boring to lost people since we know they don't love Christ nor the brethren?

And then, what if instead of making our 'church service' an evangelistic event, we actually went out and evangelized?

When we make our churches 'attractional' to the lost, it actually hurts everybody. It hurts the church because she is not being fed properly. It hurts the lost because it creates false conversions. Finally, it hurts those who may actually be genuinely converted since they are starting out with a wrong mindset of God's church.

Spurgeon puts it this way:

To introduce unconverted persons to the church, is to weaken and degrade it; and therefore an apparent gain may be a real loss.

There's not 10 reasons why people don't gather with the church.  There's only one.  They don't want to. But God's grace through the power of the gospel can change that. Go tell somebody today.

Semper Reformanda

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