Attendance: the overlooked spiritual discipline – California Southern Baptist Convention

Attendance: the overlooked spiritual discipline

Published Aug 23, 2021

By Roger Byrd

We do many things as Christians to help our walk with Jesus be a daily life of worship. We witness and minister many times during the day through our regular expressions of living. Where we work, where we shop, the next-door neighbors, the friends across the street, and schoolmates are all part of our living for Jesus as we befriend, minister, witness and serve.

But perhaps we have overlooked a critical activity in our spiritual lives and a visual statement with our neighbors and friends.

The activity of getting up with a purpose on Sunday mornings and preparing yourself to attend a unique gathering of like-minded people where singing and prayers, reading the Bible and responding to God are the focus of the morning. You go to church!

This weekly activity is perhaps the first spiritual discipline of Christian living.

When we talk about spiritual disciplines, we usually mention daily prayers, devotional Bible reading, regular witness, ongoing ministry, sacrificial giving and more. However, rarely do we say that church attendance is a spiritual discipline.

Memory takes me back to my childhood days when I was the one in our family assigned to get the family envelopes from our boxes and into the car for use at church. Each family member had a small box of Sunday School envelopes, and we would take one out of each box for each family member to carry to their class and turn it in with the attendance sheet and the offering included.  On the front of the little envelope was a checkmark system of items for you to check if it were true

  • Attending Worship Today
  • Bible Brought
  • Bible Read Daily
  • Offering
  • Contacts Made ____

This system was a modern way (of that era) to collect discipleship and participation data from the members. Attending worship was always on the list and usually one of the first choices.

As I think about new believers today and the desire to help them follow Jesus in a way that creates habits and actions that builds up the character of Christ, I would encourage them to:

  1. Attend church every Sunday
  2. Read the Bible daily
  3. Pray daily
  4. Bring someone with them to church
  5. Give an offering to the Lord

In this time of regathering, a bold reminder needs to be proclaimed by each pastor. We need reminding that church worship attendance is a spiritual discipline, and we ought not to avoid it or explain it away as a digital experience. It is not the same as being there, and as soon as possible, we need this spiritual discipline to be true about us. Attendance is necessary and mandatory as well as beneficial to our Christian living today.

“Not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” Heb 10:25