Expectations of Christians on Sundays

As a small church pastor, I have wrestled with church attendance for years.  As a matter of fact, I may have been guilty of focusing on church attendance too much.  Yet, in my defense, church attendance is really one of the quickest indicators that we, pastors, are able to see how well God is using us as shepherds of his flock.  I would like to say life-change could be another indicator, and maybe it can, but that indicator is what The Holy Spirit uses.  After all, He is the One who is able to change people’s lives. 

To explain myself better, I would like to assure you that these thoughts are not those of a depressed pastor who is struggling to make sense of lack of attendance.  Or are they?  You decide.  Yet, I have been in ministry for 12 years now.  I have gone from expecting those who follow Christ to be at church every night of the week to one morning a week.  As you can see, I have either lowered my expectations for attendance at worship as well as participation once a week in spiritual education and edification.  Nevertheless, Brady and I have had a discussion about what I, as a pastor, should realistically expect from church members, not just Covenant but all who attend, as an A+ effort.  Does God expect His followers to worship often on the Day that Christ arose from the dead? Is that still significant?  I think so, but I would like your thoughts.   

So I would like to know your opinions.  Should a Christian commit his or herself to attending Sunday morning worship at least 48 times a year?  Another question.  Is it important which day of the week a Christian worships?  Another question.  Is worship service important for the Christian?  Or, is small group discipleship enough? 

I would like inputs from both clergy and laymen on this topic.



Filed under Church Attendance, Leadership, Small Church, Worship

11 responses to “Expectations of Christians on Sundays

  1. I would have to see if adding the element of involvement in the social elements of the Christian Church. I would wonder if the push of such involvement to be involved in peoples lives and the ailments within them would be the key to the people attending. It’s high risk, but such an investment is worth the return to God’s will.

  2. waderog

    I served my local church as a layman for seven years before entering my first pastorate. I was in church every Sunday morning, even when I was on vacation (in the city I was vacationing in, of course). I also regularly participated in weekly small group Bible study, served in the prison ministry weekly, taught a Sunday School class, and served at different special events. I did all of these things, not because I was expected too, but because I wanted to. I loved Jesus and the church.

    If a man says that he is in love with a woman,but only goes to her house once or twice a month, would you believe him?

  3. Scott Uselman

    Madonna Babyak at 7:46pm July 7
    I believe Christians should be in church every Sunday if possible. I realize that there are jobs that have to be worked on Sunday, but as a rule Sunday is the day for church. Christians can and should worship any time day or night and they don’t have to be in church to do so. The world looks at us as an example and if we don’t feel that it is necessary to be in church on Sunday, how are we going to convince the lost that it is important.

    I, Scott, copied and pasted this from my Facebook comments where this blog also shows up.

    This is good discussion. I am looking forward to more people commenting.

  4. It doesn’t matter which day, but for most people, there are few opportunities for corporate adoration, except on Sunday.

    It seems to me that Christians need these:
    1) corporate adoration
    2) something that non-Christians can be invited to, and profit from
    3) Bible study in a group. Some sermons take care of that, So should Sunday School.
    4) opportunity to share needs, and to pay attention to the needs of others
    5) opportunity to give money, time, and talents to some aspect of Christ’s kingdom
    6) opportunity to see in others, and to demonstrate, how a Christian should live in the world (Here we mostly need to rely on testimony, but observation is also part of this — it has been a testimony to God’s grace, for example, to see some new Christians join the choir, hear them pray, listen to how they have interacted with others at work, etc.)

    These don’t have to all be in the same setting, at the same time, or on the same day. It would be possible to meet some of these needs through radio, TV, or internet ministries, I guess, but that wouldn’t be ideal for most people.

  5. Scott Uselman

    Another friend of mine who responded by email.

    read your blog. i believe that in a sense numbers are important whether it is to align churches with each other or in some cases pay dues to main frame. but what you are doing in the church needs to be looked at from a different view. it is not the amount of people that is important you have in a church but rather the amount of people you touch in your church. the love and friendship one feels in a family far outweighs the size of it. if you only save one more to the lord. then i would say numbers of churches is really nothing more than numbers. it is what you get out of church not who’s in it.

    My response.

    Glad you read it and you gave your response. I agree with you. But the people have to show up to love and care for those who need it. I am looking for faithfulness from those who call themselves Christ followers. Is faithfulness important to Christians when it comes to worship?

  6. Ginger Crawford

    Should a Christian commit his or herself to attending Sunday morning worship at least 48 times a year?

    Hmm…yes, as health allows. If you are a Christain and Love God you want to be in his presence. What better place than in Sunday morning worship? Sunday morning is important for me. It allows me to fellowship with other believers and to be held accountable. It also gives me the support and strength and reassurance to make it through to Wed.

    Is it important which day of the week a Christian worships? I do not think that a certain day is better than others. Personally, we should worship Him 365 days a year!!

    Is worship service important for the Christian? Yes it is important.
    Or, is small group discipleship enough? I believe the more the better!!!

    “What you chase after, you become…whether it is holy or not” by Becki Tirabassi.

    As Christians we should be chasing after God!!!

  7. Trisha McClure

    This is a hard one. I grew up mostly Catholic in Montezuma but once I made First Communion was not required to keep going to Mass. Off and on I would attend sevices with friends but nothing regular. At 13, in New Orleans, I went to an Assembly of God and their teen church camp. I was saved during camp but not allowed to be baptized. I then returned home without further instructions and no guidance and fell into my old ways. I always prayed but didn’t really go back to church regularly.
    When I was 15 I was sent to live in New Orleans and continued on the same path. Fast forward to 2005, of course we all prayed but something was still missing. We ended up in Nashville and my husband who was previously against church wanted to search. We eventually became members of a small church in Nashville.
    I was working and going to school full time along with the normal household duties and dealing with FEMA, insurance and road home. We found out that my husband has a terminal condition and I was also in charge of making sure he kept appointments. Often times I would not go to Sunday services and I noted that the congregation fluctuated. Of course, there were the faithful there all the time but others Im not sure if it was work or other obligations.
    Since moving back to New Orleans last year we have been on a search. Attended one church regularly for about 6 months, rotated “county” that gather on the third monday of every month for prayer and worship it rotates from church to church and is open to anyone. We are being called to assist the first church with outreach on Friday evenings. I am still in school and my husband is still sick so we do what we can when we can but we know we are blessed in many ways and want to serve and share. He has not indicated exactly where we should be so we just go where we feel His presence and a need for service.
    Every service has something to offer. Sunday is traditionally the day we celebrate the Sabbath but often times we are not in control the world is and I understand that working to support the family, and some other issues may seem more pressing at the time.It is very important to set a day for regular services and daily prayer,study, and worship time. Sometimes we get more from the Bible study than from the service but we try always to attend on Sundays. Most of the churches we have attended are small with congregations well under 200 and some less than 50. There is always fluctuation and I have heard more than one pastor wondering what can be done to get Sunday attendance up and steady.
    Note that with our histories we are faithful but lacking in knowledge of the Word but are learning and praying for revelation.
    Sorry for being so long winded but I thought some background would help with understanding responses.

  8. Scott Uselman

    Another response from a friend.

    YES IT IS IMPORTANT. MORE SO WHEN TIMES OF NEED VERSES TIMES OF GOOD. ALTHOUGH WE DO NOT SEE OR FEEL IT, WE ARE IN NEED OF HIM 24/7. We like to think that it is our plans that come through and blame God for his when they don’t. For me I make so many mistakes without looking to Him for guidance prior to action. After the action is when the regret knocks. It is laziness on my part for not putting forth effort to attend. I expect you to be there and to carry the load. For someone with less things then me that I have to get done has the time to show up.

  9. Scott Uselman

    Another response from Facebook.

    i think it is important that Christians come to church on Sundays and any other time there services or Bible studies going on. I have found in my life (and it seems the lives of those around me) that when i let my church attendance slip it is soon followed by spending less time in the word and less time in prayer there is a reason that God told us … Read Morenot to give up meeting together it is in those time of meeting together and praising together we are reenergized to go out and serve the rest of the week. By coming to church we remind ourselves and other we are not in this battle alone. you would not go out and fight a battle without first coming together and coming up with a plan and getting pumped up so why do we think we can go out and fight the battle against the devil with out meeting together I truly find that coming to church gives me what i need to make it through the week and I think pastors should expect thier people to be there on Sunday morning

  10. I am not sure that I would tie it to a number (do i get to stay home in December if I have my 48 weeks in?) as much as I would say it is a good thing if the normal thing to normally do on a normal Sunday is go to church.

    similarly, it is good if the normal thing to normally do on any day is to start the day with the Bible on my lap


  11. Scott Uselman

    Josh brought up a good point. The reason that I say 48 Sundays is that I realize that people get sick and have vacation. Those 48 Sundays are the expectations that I have for those committed to the local church I serve at to be there. When someone goes on vacation maybe they should attend church where ever they are at.

    Another comment that I would add is that in my opinion I do think that Sundays are the best for worship since it is when our Savior Arose from the dead. It is supposed to be a celebration.

    I also believe that there should be at least one day a week for discipleship. That can be on any day in my opinion.

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