It has been widely reported that four out of 10 Americans attend church each week, but respected pollsters are now casting doubt on these numbers because respondents actually answer questions according to what they think they should be doing, rather than what they are doing. When figuring in the phenomenon called “social desirability bias,” only about 25 percent of Americans go to church weekly.
As I have watched what often happens when people get out of the habit of going to church, I have developed an axiom that I often share with my congregation. It goes like this: “If you unplug, you will eventually unravel.”
I get concerned when I talk to people who only come to church once-in-awhile and I hear them say things like, “I have so much going on that I just can’t make it” or “I’m really dealing with some stuff and when I get it figured out, then I’ll come back” or “Sunday is my only day to sleep in.”
May I appeal to you to make church attendance your committed custom and a holy habit? Simply put, you need time for praising, praying, preaching and to simply be with God’s people.
If Jesus did it, shouldn’t we? He grew up going to the synagogue every Sabbath. When He came back to his hometown of Nazareth, we read in Luke 4:16 that “on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom …”
Let me make the obvious point that going to synagogue was part of His regular weekly schedule. Because this was His habit, He didn’t get up in the morning and wonder if He should go, or allow anything else to get in the way of going, or not go if He was tired, or stay home because He didn’t like something in the service. It was His custom to go, no matter what.
It’s easy to get out of the habit of going to church but it’s also easy to go when you’re in the habit of going. And the first step back is to make this Sunday the beginning of a new habit. I can’t think of a better time to plug into church than the Christmas season. Who knows, you just might like it … and you may help the poll numbers go up.
(Pastor Brian is senior pastor of Pontiac Bible Church, www.pontiacbible.org).