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Gospel Gab: The problem with empty pews

Ava Hicks, Staff Writer

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Editor’s Note: Ava Hicks is a senior at UNCW studying Communications with a minor in Journalism. Ava also serves as a staff writer for The Seahawk and a regular columnist for Gospel Gab. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. All suggestions and inquiries may be sent via email to vcw6007@uncw.edu.

 One of the most common excuses people give for not going to church is that they “simply don’t have the time” or they are “just too busy.” It has become an ordinary concept for some Christians to never attend church or worship gatherings. I have even talked to people who described their faith in the Lord as being “private” or “personal.”
 

The thing is, we were not created to be solitary creatures or to keep our faith to ourselves. One of the greatest principles of Christianity is the call to go and make disciples, to spread the word of God and exhibit His love in everything we do. In order to do this, we must reach out to others and build community with both Christians and non-Christians alike.
 

It is unhealthy for humans to go extended periods of time without some sort of human interaction. A study done by BBC reported that long periods of social isolation can lead to mental health problems, higher risk of cardiovascular disease, and a weakened immune system. This is because God created us to be social creatures and to fellowship with each other.  

 

Being a follower of Christ means you are part of a community of believers, a family that is connected by something much deeper than blood. There are no loners in the Christian community. We are all in this together and one of our ultimate purposes is to love and serve those around us.  

 

A considerate amount of people who don’t attend church claim that Sunday is their only day off, so they want to spend it resting at home or engaging in their favorite pastimes. It may be true that you are overworked or don’t get enough time off, but the thing is, church should not be something that feels like a chore. It is a place to find support, to be replenished, and to feel loved.
 

Another reason that people often leave the church is due to some wrong that was done to them by a member of the church community. They feel hurt and project this wrongdoing onto the image of the church as a whole. This puts an idea into their mind that the place of worship is oppressive or unkind, when in reality it is a single person who caused them harm.  

 

Perhaps the most prevalent reason fewer people are going to church is because of the plethora of other things that are begging for our attention. This is not necessarily referring to our busy schedules, but rather the widespread access that we have to all forms of entertainment. Church attendance has dropped significantly in the past 50 years and that can be partly attributed to the advancement in technology and an increase in distractions.  

 

But despite all these excuses not to show up at church on Sunday morning, there are several prominent reasons that you should attend. Hebrews 10:25 states, “Do not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  

 

If we truly love and wish to follow Christ, then it should be our heart’s desire to honor His Word and live our lives in His image. A significant part of Jesus’s ministry was the relationships that He formed and the people that He touched through gatherings of teaching and worship. If you never put yourself in situations where you are surrounded by other believers, how are you going to be able to grow in your faith?  

 

Matthew 18:20 states, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Christ is always with you – He will never leave you or forsake you. But when we gather together in His name, His presence is so much more joyful and evident. As believers, we should crave this energy and desire to be closer to the Lord. Aside from spending time in the Word, the best way to do this is by coming together to celebrate Christ and all He has done for us.  

 

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