From time to time, I call people who are members of our church who do not attend worship at our church. I guess I should say they rarely attend worship. It’s always an interesting conversation. I don’t have to tell them why I’ve called. They immediately know. As soon as I say, “Hi, this is Pastor Douthwaite,” they interrupt and say, “You know we were just talking about you, and we were just talking about how we need to get back to church, and even though we’ll be out of town this weekend, we’ll be there the following Sunday.” All in one breath. A scripted response. They know exactly what to say. At least they think that’s what I want to hear.
Even though all of our members promise that they will remain faithful to the church, even to the point of death, from my experience there are always a few families that haven’t attended in over a year, and that includes Christmas and Easter. Even if they begin to attend or their names are taken off the membership rolls, other families will take their place. I’ve concluded that this is just part of the nature of the church.
Of course, in some of these conversations, I learn why people don’t go to their church. They travel. They or their children are sick. They have guests from out of town staying in their homes. They worked a lot over the past week and are too tired. They were re-tiling their floors. There was a soccer (or baseball or football) game. They had a rough week. Imagine using all those excuses for not going in to work. I imagine you wouldn’t have that job very long.
Reasons for not attending I never hear are, “We don’t like you or your church. We disagree with what you believe. We aren’t getting anything out of your sermons. We don’t like the music.” Could it be that most people join a church without any intent of actually attending on a regular basis? Perhaps we do not clearly express this expectation.