Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why Don't People Go To Church?

While driving around, I noticed a church sign because one word of the name was black and easy to read, but the word “church” was a shade of gray that nearly blended into the white background. When churches stop dropping words from their signs, it is usually because they don’t want people to think they are associated with another church that has the same word on their sign. This particular church sign used to have the words “Baptist Church” on it, but “Baptist” was dropped and now “church” is difficult to read. I looked at the group’s website and a statement along the lines of “we don’t need another church, we need another kind of church.” Of course, once I got past that statement, the way they described their church sounded very much like the description I’ve seen on many other church websites.

I think people have focused on the wrong things. Maybe if we drop Baptist from the name, people will come to church. Maybe if we don’t tell them it is a church people will come. Maybe if we change the style of music, people will come. And yet, those are things that the Bible says very little about. The early churches don’t appear to have had names. They kept them apart by location—the assembly at Jerusalem—the assembly at Antioch. And while we see places where the early churches sang, none of the New Testament writers spent much time on the subject.

There are two very simple reasons why people don’t come to church and neither has anything to do with the church sign, the style of music, or how the church is described on the website. People don’t come to church because they aren’t saved or because they haven’t been taught properly, but mostly because they aren’t saved. While we love to see lost people show up at church and like it even more when we see them come down the aisle and accept Christ, fashioning our church services on the ability to entertain the lost is not a good thing.

I challenge you to find something in the Bible that says we should design our church services to attract lost people. Our churches are far more open to lost people than any of the churches in the New Testament. When the church was praying for Peter’s release from prison, they had the doors locked and even Peter couldn’t get in. That’s not to say that it is wrong to have activities that involve lost people, but there is danger in putting all of our focus on attracting lost people and failing to do those things that are required to mature the saints.