5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Skipping Church
It happens. The kids wake up projectile vomiting, a water pipe bursts, or some other momentarily catastrophic event enters into your world. And when? About 9:30 on a Sunday morning—as you are getting ready to head to church. It’s true, there are circumstances where staying home from your church’s worship gathering is necessary—even wise. But ask any pastor and they will tell you that they have noticed an alarming trend among their congregations. With increasing regularity, Christians can be found and counted as ‘absent’ from corporate worship. It might be because of late Saturday nights, sporting events, or various other commitments, but skipping church seems to have become quite common.
It’s obvious that there are circumstances—like those previously mentioned—where skipping church is appropriate. Think of vacations, physical inability, mandatory work overtime, or being out of town for a wedding/funeral. That’s not an exhaustive list, but hopefully you get the general idea concerning what could be considered an ‘appropriate’ reason for skipping church. We are not talking about those circumstances. We are talking about the regular and consistent absence from worship. And that is dangerous.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Skipping Church
Do you want to disobey God?
Hopefully you don’t. And many do not realize that God has given clear instructions to his children about what to do when his people gather—they are to be there. These instructions are found in Hebrews 10:24-25: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, (25) not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Christians are not only to be committed to God, but also to one another. The ‘sacredness’ of church seems to have disappeared from the fabric of our society and culture. There was a time when little to nothing would have been scheduled on Sundays—even Wednesday nights would have been clear. That day is long gone. Times that historically were reserved for attending church have been done away with. It’s totally normal for practices to be scheduled on Sunday mornings. If we want to skip church, we will have plenty of opportunities to find something to do, justify it, and come up with a seemingly valid excuse.
Additionally, our culture is afraid of commitment. You could even say that they don’t understand what it means to be committed. The mantra seems to be, “I’ll be there (maybe)—if I can and nothing else comes up.” And sadly, it seems as if Christians are no different than the culture they live in when it comes to matters like these.
And yes, God knows you are busy. He knows you have a lot going on. That is precisely why he put Hebrews 10:24-25 in the Bible. He knows we will be tempted to skip church with regularity.
For some churches, they seem to have something going on (7) days a week. Are we required to attend everything that our church gathers for? Short answer—no. Some events at our church are certainly optional—but some are not. The central and main worship service at your church should be considered a non-negotiable necessity. That service is non-optional for Christians. Start there and it will be easier to determine the other activities at your church that you should ( or are able to) attend.
Do you know how important attending church is?
Corporate worship is the primary way in which God grows our spiritual lives. This doesn’t take away the necessity of having a private devotional life, but there is no substitute for the gathering of God’s people. It is impossible to properly (and biblically) worship God by yourself. We can’t stay at home and do it from the comfort of our couches. Flipping on Christian preaching/programming is not at all the same thing. Worshiping God requires that we are with others—to love, serve, and grow with them. To be honest, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of attending church.
Do you understand how much you matter?
Attending church isn’t primarily about ‘getting’; it’s about giving. When we skip church, we are not able to give what God calls us to give—ourselves. No one else can give what you can. This means your life—and presence—is extremely important. God’s people need you.
Do you understand what you are communicating to your family, the world, and to others?
When we skip church regularly, we are communicating something about the value and worth of God. We spend time on and sacrifice for what we value. When we regularly skip worship services, we are communicating that God himself is not particularly valuable. We communicate that obedience to God is optional; that God (and his people) only matter when it’s convenient for them to matter. Tragically, it makes it virtually impossible for our children to know and serve the Lord.
Can you discern the work of the enemy?
Not every flat tire, headache, and negative situation is the result of the devil’s work. There’s not a demon behind every bush trying to get you to stub your toe or lose your phone. The powers of darkness have a different objective—to sink your spiritual life. So, although darkness is seldom behind what goes on in our material and physical lives, they do like to use such things to keep us from worship. The enemy knows just how important church is (probably more so than most believers). He will do anything he can to ensure we stay away from gathering with God’s people. Pay attention to the timing of certain events. Ask yourself if some things can wait until Sunday afternoon. The enemy’s goal is to tempt us to be unfaithful. If you make it easy for him to do so, he will have no problem getting you to stay away from the people of God. Don’t let him.