A few days ago while watching a virtual church service on television, I started thinking to myself, “It is becoming so comfortable to attend church at home.” Across the nation, in-person church attendance has dropped drastically since the coronavirus pandemic. Let’s be honest, even prior to the pandemic, church attendance was dropping.
An article published in mid-2021 by the Wall Street Journal spoke of a Catholic church in Massachusetts, “The Archdiocese of Boston had been losing about 2.5% of its Mass-going population each year since the early 1980s, said Rev. Paul Soper, the archdiocese’s secretary for evangelization and discipleship. He estimates that attendance at its churches now is down roughly 30% from before the pandemic.”
So, why are Christians choosing not to attend church in-person, nor participate in a local church? Let’s discuss a few reasons.
Reason 1: Many Christians feel going to church isn’t a requirement to practice their faith. Plus, more people are becoming anti-social.
I believe this is a big reason. A lot of Christians are redefining their beliefs and adjusting their faith to compliment their lifestyle choices.
The premise of the Christian faith is built upon the core pillars of loving others and loving God. Attending a church may not be a requirement to practice the faith, but the Bible clearly states Christians should not take for granted socializing with one another.
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”Paul writes to the Hebrew, Hebrews 10:25
“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”Jesus speaking to His disciples, Matthew 18:19-20
I grew up in a world prior to social media. I remember when the internet started to become a place of social interaction. I feel the more connected we become virtually the less connection we have with others around us.
Reason 2: Many Christians want to socially distance themselves from others as they don’t want to spread nor contract the coronavirus.
This reason is definitely true for some. Just a few weeks ago, even my pastor missed church because he tested positive for the coronavirus. Even though he didn’t have strong symptoms, he is well aware that the coronavirus is a serious health issue, so he isolated himself & followed health protocols.
What I don’t understand is how Christians who have discontinued attending church in-person due to the coronavirus… still go to work, or the grocery store, or a fitness center, or an indoor restaurant, or a house party, or wherever?
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”Paul writing the church in Philippi, Philippians 4:6-7
Since testing began I have never tested positive. I used to get tested once a week for work. So I am totally aware of all COVID-19 health precautions, plus I feel everyone knows someone who was hospitalized or died due to the coronavirus.
The coronavirus provided people with a reason to do what they already wanted to do. Let’s be real… a lot of Christians don’t like going to church.
So, if Christians don’t want to go to church… it’s not like I judge them for not going. It doesn’t change my life either way, good or bad. However, it only hurts the church when Christians are not honest with their feelings.
I personally feel a large majority of Christians stopped going because of one these four reasons:
- No conviction – They don’t care if they go to church or not.
- No Christian friends – They would go, but don’t have friends to go with.
- Laziness – They don’t live near to a church they like.
- Hurt – They stopped going to church because something happened. They were hurt by someone in the church and they haven’t been able to get over those experiences.
America is a Christian nation, despite what many seem to believe. Although our nation has a history filled with injustices and crimes against humanity, we are still one nation under God that believes in liberty and justice for all. We need our Christian leaders to not only talk about having faith, but to model their Christian faith in their homes and communities… and that includes you and me.
Church is not just a building. Church began with a group of people hanging out in homes, in a safe personal space. The purpose of having church is to fellowship with other believers, to worship God in unity and to teach/spread the gospel. I believe people need to be taught about the history of the church, and they will lose focus on how much hurt the church has caused, and see the grand impacts the church has made to the world throughout history.