Go to Church
It is no surprise that there are not many people who go to Church in Canada. A 2013 poll by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada found that only 13 percent of people attend a weekly religious service (i.e. includes all faiths). However, the real concern is highlighted by the Barna Group's 2014 tracking data which found that people who show up once every four to six weeks consider themselves regular churchgoers. In other words, Christians don't seem to find the church very important.
When Christians are asked their priorities they often answer 1) God, 2)family, and 3)work. These are good priorities depending on their definitions, but typically it doesn't seem like the local church is included in any of them. This should not be. Unfortunately, there is a common misconception that you don't have to go to church to be a Christian. Although this is technically true in specific contexts (i.e. you die before you can go), it is patently false in almost all others.
There should be no doubt of the importance of the local church. God's plan for the fullness of time is to unite all things in Jesus (Eph. 1:10). In other words, we are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit (Eph. 2:22). Yes, this is a spiritual building up, but it takes place on earth. It seems that there are few too many people smoking their beliefs instead of living them. A good way to visualize this is to look at the concept of a team. Here a few scenario's to consider.
- After tryouts one of the team members comes up and says, “Coach, I am glad I made the team but I am not going to any practices or games.” You don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. I don’t have any need for other Christians. I don’t need the arm of the body of Christ.
- Another team member comes up after tryouts and says, “Coach, I am only coming to games” I only go to church on Sunday. We are talking about practice! I don't need to grow or be challenged.
- After a few weeks of forming the team you realize that one of the players doesn’t understand the strategy of the game, so you confront him and ask him if he has read the game plan. He responds, I have a hard time reading the Bible and I always get distracted. All you need is love. Don’t be legalistic.
If you where the coach in each one of these scenarios you would not accept any of the answers. In fact you would probably let them know that they are not really on the team. The purpose of a team is to work towards a common goal. The purpose of the church is to be built up into a dwelling place for God. We do this by growing together. You can't grow together unless you actually get together!
- And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. (Eph. 4:11-12)
- Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. (Eph. 4:15)
- Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each of you speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another.
- Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Eph. 4:29)
The fact of the matter is most people seem to be more committed to their sports teams which have almost zero value than to the church which is a dwelling place for God. Go to church, even if it is not perfect. That is kind of the point.