Recently in a “Word for Today” I read about why we should go to church and the article gave us five reasons for going.
But it actually reminded me of something that the Holy Spirit put on my heart a few months ago and I wrote into a personal blog. You may not agree with all this but perhaps you can take something from it:
Why You Need To Go To Church – now more than ever
Not sure if you’ve noticed, but it seems people are going to church less than ever before. I don’t mean less people are going to church; as the percentage of people who identify as Christian lessens that is going to happen. No, I mean Christians are going to church less. Whereas once you might miss once a term, or a couple of weeks when you were on holidays, now it seems the norm for a large percentage of Christians is to attend church fortnightly, or even monthly. And right now, as Christians, we need to rethink this.
Train Up A Child
One of the toughest lessons the Holy Spirit has taught me is to do with Proverbs 22:6. That verse says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have had parents talk to me and say how concerned they are because their child has decided to “stray”, to not walk with Christ. And I have heard other people respond the same as I always did, “keep praying because you have raised your child right so he/she will come back to Christ”. Sounds good, right? Except the Holy Spirit pulled me up on this a few years ago and told me: God never said that. Of course, I argued, I even quoted chapter and verse, but was clearly told to read the verse again.
How many times I have been told that, I don’t know, but I hate hearing it because I’ve never been right yet!
Anyway, I read it and of course I was wrong – God didn’t say the child would come back, He said he wouldn’t depart. Now, this worried me because I have dear friends who I know have raised their kids in church and with Christ. Some have stayed but others have strayed, so I was always careful where I said this revelation. I don’t believe my friends did the wrong thing. Not long ago I was away and visited a different church; on the same week they had a visiting pastor who preached about family.
At the end of the service I really wanted to go out for prayer, it was a burning desire and with adult children it took me a while to work out why.
Then I worked out I wanted prayer because of people we have decide to open our house to. The pastor gave some great advice. He said to make sure that when we welcome the young person at the door to pray before they enter. Pray quietly but pray and command the devil to leave them. Our house is run by God and the devil isn’t welcome.
He went on to explain that he suggests the same thing to parents who are separated or divorced.
Some have commented to him that when their child returns from the other parent (who holds different values to their Christian beliefs) their child takes 3 or 4 days to settle back into the house and house rules; and how many have returned to say this prayer works – as they meet and hug their child they quietly pray for the devil to leave their child, that he isn’t welcome in their home. The devil is stopped at the door and not allowed to enter. And this I believe is why some children do stray when they grow up; nothing to do with the parenting but with the outside influences.
You see, we are not fighting a worldly battle but a spiritual one
So, what does this have to do with being in church?
I’m going to focus a little on children/teens but the principles apply to everyone. We live in a world that is becoming increasingly “worldly”. The 2016 census found that 52.1% of Australian’s see themselves as Christian. Now, I know one lady who is a Christian because “she is born in a Christian country” – sounds legit, right? She can’t be the only one. That means that less than 52.1% of Australia are actually Christian. This means that every time you send your child to school, surfing, music, sport, art classes, drama, family, bird watching, to visit a friend, or wherever you send them the chances are they will relate to people with influences different to yours.
As the world changes, what your child will be taught at school will change.
Even a Christian school is required to teach the theory of evolution and I know that at my local Christian school this is carefully taught and taught only as a theory. But that thought still enters your child’s mind; there is a chance that without follow up in life, that theory could take hold of your child (or the devil could whisper to your child that this is the correct theory). Every time you allow them to visit a friend, they have about a 50-50 chance of being influenced in a non-Christian way. Am I suggesting you don’t allow your child to associate with non-Christians? Definitely not; we are called to mix with other people, we are called to live in the world. But, we do need to protect our children, and ourselves.
If we don’t find a way to keep our children in church then the world will find a way to keep them out
So, if I am suggesting you still mix in the world you may be wondering what you can do, or why I am suggesting going to church is important. As I spent two sleepless nights pondering this the Holy Spirit suggested to me that if we don’t find a way to keep our children in church then the world will find a way to keep them out of it. If we don’t make church important then our children won’t see church, or God as important. I heard a really good quote in a message recently “God will share your children with the world but the world will not share your children with God.”
I know we think we have legitimate reasons to miss a week:
Sunday is my day to relax.
My bible says “come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)
My child plays sport and they are really good, so they are using the gift God gave them
Agreed, but sport doesn’t run night and day. If sport is in the morning, then find a night church.
I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.
You certainly don’t, but that is where you will be fed and encouraged. Your children will also get the balance from being in the world.
But Friday night is family night; we are exhausted and to pick the kids up after youth means I can’t relax.
Sounds legit, but what is your priority.
That last word is important.
What priority are you showing your family?
Our bible explains what the world is going to be like in the last days. Are we living in the last days? Sometimes it sure seems like it but I really couldn’t tell you. People have been saying that we are for the last 35 years.
Let’s see what the bible has to say. Jesus said – more earthquakes, food shortages, nations against nations, old and new diseases (Matthew 24). Paul said, in 2 Timothy 3, people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, unnatural affection, no self-control, fierce, lovers of pleasure, false appearance of godliness.
Is this a scare tactic?
Definitely not. But, it is preparation tactic.
As our world becomes increasingly less godly it is important that we go to church more, not less. You may not think it is important for you to be there. Maybe your faith is sealed and secure, but consider what is important for your children. Church, youth groups, church camps and events – the more the better as we get closer to the final days.