A few years ago, Beyonce told a magazine that churchgoers’ reactions to her celebrity status keep her from attending church. “I think God understands if I miss Sunday service,” she said.
Well, Beyonce may not be one of them, but according to the National Council of Churches, 147.3 million people—or just under half of the American population—attend church.
Personally, I’m a church girl and have been for most of my life. I’m always at church. I volunteer at my church, worked at my church, went to high school at my church, attended a Bible college at my church and even met my husband at my church. However, as I’m reading more of the Bible, aggressively pursuing my career goals, paying closer attention to my financial status, navigating life as a newlywed and generally just re-evaluating several areas of my life, I’ve begun to wonder if incessant church attendance is necessary…or even productive?
I believe that church attendance is vital for education, edification, and fellowship with other believers. Week after week, God moves in churches across America to bring salvation, healing and deliverance. There are people in other countries who risk their lives to have an organized church service.
However, many churches like mine have three or more services a week and expect their members to attend every one. I’m not convinced any successful person spends this much time at church.
How could they? There are only so many hours in a week and if we have jobs and families then where does excessive church attendance fit in? It doesn’t. Something has to suffer and because too many erroneously and un-Biblically equate church with Christianity, we find ourselves forsaking all to…attend church.
That’s not what God intended.
When people in the Bible asked Jesus what they must do to be saved, he didn’t answer, “Spend every waking moment at church,” so why, two-thousand years later, has the Way, the Truth, and the Life been watered down to church attendance?
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently reported that “roughly 60 percent of Black women say they attend religious services at least once a week. No group of men or women from any other racial or ethnic background exhibits comparably high levels of religious observance.”
We also know that, statistically, Black women lag behind others in the areas of health and wealth. Are our peers are climbing the ladder of success as we sit in our local sanctuaries? How can we even begin to fulfill the Great Commission and be the “light of the world” if we hide our light under the church pews? Living in Christian bubbles is wholly ineffective. The expectation that Christians cloister in church every chance we get has largely left us out of the ranks of highly successful people. Is there a way to find a balance between spending time at church and still getting substantial things accomplished in life? I believe so.
Of course, I can think of many less noble ways to whittle away time than spending it at church. People spend an exorbitant amount of time watching Real[ly] [Not Anybody’s] Wife of [Pick Your City], enjoying senseless “hobbies” or being engrossed in Facebook’s new Timeline feature. Personally, I’ve spent hours I’ll never get back on Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr or catching up on shows via DVR.
I’m merely suggesting for that we shouldn’t be made to feel as though we are less than heaven-bound because we skip a Wednesday night service in order to go to work, get our house in order or even to spend time with friends and family.
I’m no Beyonce Knowles but, yes,I know God understands if I too, miss a Sunday service.
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