What if church attendance was compulsory?

Dec 19, 2014
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I used to think colouring in you weren't really learning anything when I did Bibles in schools, as it was extra just to keep children occupied but now I think people need to doodle and colour in or knit or do something while listening.
I'm very happy just to sit and read a book from the Bible (and can read a lot faster on my own) or do Bible reading with others where everyone takes turns reading out loud.
I don't think church needs to entertain me but I find sometimes the services can be a bit too predictable, like it will often go like this -

song
notices
sharing time
prayer
offering song
slow song
prayer song
short reading (sometimes not related to the sermon)
sermon (15-20 minutes) - one preacher with a power point
benediction
song
fellowship and cup of tea

Does anyone do anything different? We don't get to pick the songs and sometimes the preacher just follows a lectionary so after going there a few times I hear the same sermon again!
At quaker meetings its just an hour of quiet time, (and anyone can speak if they want to, but most often it's silent) then maybe some notices and then fellowship.

I like singing although I'm not a muscian, but sometimes I feel like we lack a bit of unison because the musicians out perform the congregation. They have the mics, they are out in front, we in the pews don't. Some churches I'm sure still have choirs, but I've never really been to any that had an actual choir. Its more like 3 piece bands are in.
 
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bobinfaith

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I used to think colouring in you weren't really learning anything when I did Bibles in schools, as it was extra just to keep children occupied but now I think people need to doodle and colour in or knit or do something while listening.
I'm very happy just to sit and read a book from the Bible (and can read a lot faster on my own) or do Bible reading with others where everyone takes turns reading out loud.
I don't think church needs to entertain me but I find sometimes the services can be a bit too predictable, like it will often go like this -

song
notices
sharing time
prayer
offering song
slow song
prayer song
short reading (sometimes not related to the sermon)
sermon (15-20 minutes) - one preacher with a power point
benediction
song
fellowship and cup of tea

Does anyone do anything different? We don't get to pick the songs and sometimes the preacher just follows a lectionary so after going there a few times I hear the same sermon again!
At quaker meetings its just an hour of quiet time, (and anyone can speak if they want to, but most often it's silent) then maybe some notices and then fellowship.

I like singing although I'm not a muscian, but sometimes I feel like we lack a bit of unison because the musicians out perform the congregation. They have the mics, they are out in front, we in the pews don't. Some churches I'm sure still have choirs, but I've never really been to any that had an actual choir. Its more like 3 piece bands are in.
Hello, Lanolin;

Have you thought about meeting with the Pastor and express how you feel regarding the order of worship?

Did you know the Pastor does not always decide alone on the order of worship? In some churches the Pastor may, but in many churches they are open to suggestions from the congregation which means they are welcome to change. This is part of growth including the order of worship.
 
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Dec 19, 2014
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Hello, Lanolin;

Have you thought about meeting with the Pastor and express how you feel regarding the order of worship?

Did you know the Pastor does not always decide alone on the order of worship? In some churches the Pastor may, but in many churches they are open to suggestions from the congregation which means they are welcome to change. This is part of growth including the order of worship.

hmm I don't really know what I would suggest to change things as its always been like that and I haven't really known anything different!
Maybe they could do the sermon first and the notices later?
 

bobinfaith

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I'm going to pray for all of us in this discussion. Most of us are familiar with this Scripture teaching;

Hebrews 10:23-25, 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

When we choose not to go to church for our personal reasons doesn't allow others to receive our love and encouragement. Our love and encouragement allows us to bond from sharing our faith and strengthening one another in Christ as well as each one of us receiving the same fellowship support.

Going to church is Biblical, not forcible, nobody can force us to go to church but when we choose to, there are good benefits for each of us.

To get a perspective example, when we gather here at CFS we are loving and encouraging others in our faith as well as receiving the love and support for ourselves in Christ. This is also church! I personally "meet together" (fellowship) at CFS because I want to love others, read/listen to their posts, respect their feelings/opinions and hope to be an encouragement where I can be. Just the same, I receive the same love and encouragement from the members here.

It's the same when we gather in our church community, however, nothing beats "live, face to face" fellowship. The KEY is, is this the church God is calling you because He has a profound purpose where you will serve, or can we say we are still "searching" where He wants us to serve Him and haven't found our home church yet?

If we are still searching then this is understandable. When I greet visitors at our church I would love them to attend and serve. But many have told me they don't know for many reasons. I respect them and pray they will find their reasons with the church God is leading them to.

Meantime, I do respect our brothers and sisters that don't know whether to attend church, this is personal between you and God, so its good to remain in prayer.
 
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Well technically a lot of us don't even own our own homes so its probably just as hard to find a home church when you don't even know if you'll be staying in the area for very long, is how I see it.

Or, there are so many churches in your town/city, that its hard to just settle in one as there are so many choices.

I used to hear things like 'we are losing our church members cos people are just renting and not staying in the area' but thats the thing in a big city unless the area gets gentrified. People go where the work and jobs are and usually live close to where they work, when jobs go, they go.

With jobs these days there is never any security like it was in the last century where you basically had a job for life and a pension at the end of it. That does not happen anymore. People can't tithe when they don't even know if they'll have enough income either.

If churchgoers are expected these days to attend every week without fail that's rare because of weekend trading now means those who work in retail have to work all hours, and this has a knock on effect for all others so that nobody ever gets a day of rest. I think it was a lot easier when shops were closed the whole weekend, but now they are open and people expect them to be open (and other services too).
 
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Well technically a lot of us don't even own our own homes so its probably just as hard to find a home church when you don't even know if you'll be staying in the area for very long, is how I see it.

Or, there are so many churches in your town/city, that its hard to just settle in one as there are so many choices.

I used to hear things like 'we are losing our church members cos people are just renting and not staying in the area' but thats the thing in a big city unless the area gets gentrified. People go where the work and jobs are and usually live close to where they work, when jobs go, they go.

With jobs these days there is never any security like it was in the last century where you basically had a job for life and a pension at the end of it. That does not happen anymore. People can't tithe when they don't even know if they'll have enough income either.

If churchgoers are expected these days to attend every week without fail that's rare because of weekend trading now means those who work in retail have to work all hours, and this has a knock on effect for all others so that nobody ever gets a day of rest. I think it was a lot easier when shops were closed the whole weekend, but now they are open and people expect them to be open (and other services too).

What you are describing is the "Process of Life".

Everything in life changes. We must adapt or be left behind. It is just that simple.

100 years ago before there was A/C we adapted and used hand fans.
100 years ago before there were cars we used wagons and mules to get around.
100 years ago churches were built were the majority of people could get to them within an hour or so of a wagon ride.
100 years ago half the population in lived in rural areas.
100 years ago in USA the renters were 4 to 1 to home owners.
100 years ago, the result of pneumonia was death.

Churches that are thriving today have adapted to those changes,

Churches used to not have electricity, but now they do. That is adapting.
Churches used to not have all of their members as farmers. Now they have shop owners and store clerks and bank presidents. Adapting.

This web site we are communicating on is the ability to adapt. Because of the distance between locations we can not meet face to face as @"Bobinfaith" correctly said. That would be the best thing to do. However because that is impossible.......we adapt!!!!!

Everything changes in life. I can say that it has changed greatly for the better. You see, I am old enough and from so far back in the woods of Alabama that I remember what an outhouse was used for and if you do not think things are better now, then think again.

I can remember hauling a bucket of water from the well to the kitchen 3 or 4 times a day and believe me, running water is a really good change in life.

Charmin is a whole lot better adaptation than a Sears and Roebuck catalog.
 
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I really appreciate hot running water and to be able to have a bathroom inside that you can close, although I suspect when flush toilets were first put indoors people might not have liked them at first (what a toilet in your living space?) but its all on tap all you have to do is turn it.

I love christian online forums because its the immediacy of the word in front of you that you don't get in churches that you only hear because just one person is reading from the Bible (its often put on a big powerpoint screen) and you must sit and listen for over an hour, get there and back.

And that is why books are also important as on reading them you can learn a lot more in depth than what you can in a class of 30 at school with one teacher. School is useful for other activities but self-directed learning is a lot more meaningful and sticks longer.

It used to be books were so expensive, that only one person had a copy and that person was designated teacher.

My thing with regular church attendance at the moment is that I'm around different people so much in my jobs already and giving love and encouragement everyday that going to another gathering with more people and having yet another obligation gets a bit much...

church seems to work for more for people that aren't around others all week. I found that when I was working on my other jobs that didn't involve so meeting many people face to face everyday I looked forward to meeting others at church. You think about the average person in a public facing role and the need for a bit of peace and quiet time to reflect on scripture and God, but it seems most churches are now rather noisy and busy places, and not the retreat or a place of rest/comfort that a busy person needs.
 
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I really appreciate hot running water and to be able to have a bathroom inside that you can close, although I suspect when flush toilets were first put indoors people might not have liked them at first (what a toilet in your living space?) but its all on tap all you have to do is turn it.

I love christian online forums because its the immediacy of the word in front of you that you don't get in churches that you only hear because just one person is reading from the Bible (its often put on a big powerpoint screen) and you must sit and listen for over an hour, get there and back.

And that is why books are also important as on reading them you can learn a lot more in depth than what you can in a class of 30 at school with one teacher. School is useful for other activities but self-directed learning is a lot more meaningful and sticks longer.

It used to be books were so expensive, that only one person had a copy and that person was designated teacher.

My thing with regular church attendance at the moment is that I'm around different people so much in my jobs already and giving love and encouragement everyday that going to another gathering with more people and having yet another obligation gets a bit much...

church seems to work for more for people that aren't around others all week. I found that when I was working on my other jobs that didn't involve so meeting many people face to face everyday I looked forward to meeting others at church. You think about the average person in a public facing role and the need for a bit of peace and quiet time to reflect on scripture and God, but it seems most churches are now rather noisy and busy places, and not the retreat or a place of rest/comfort that a busy person needs.

However one looks at it or feels about it, Scriptures encourage all believers to attend worship services.

Matthew 18:20.......
"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Colossians 3:16......
"Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts."

Romans 10:17.........
"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ."

Hebrews 10:25
"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

It is for our own good that God want us in fellowship with other believers. We need each other to grow up in the faith, to learn to serve, to love one another, to exercise our spiritual gifts, and to practice forgiveness. Although we are individuals, we still belong to one another.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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I'm asking for some encouragement.
There's a fellowship that my neighbour goes to, but she often goes on to somewhere else afterward, and its in a suburb that takes 15 minutes to get to on motorway. There use to be a train I could catch home but now the station is closed and buses only run maybe hourly on Sunday if you are lucky. And then it takes about half an hour to 45 minutes to get home, as I then have to walk from the train station back to my house. Not too fun when its wet, rainy and cold and by myself. I had gotten rides before which was nice but I don't really like to put people out of their way.

Maybe I should just drive myself there and back to save the hassle.
The thing is I wish there was a fellowship I could just walk to and people are welcoming and won't interrogate me all the time.

I tried my local one in the next suburb and the first time I went back there someone from out of town kept asking me all these questions making me feel like I was the foreigner. I felt so uncomfortable and off put by it all that I didn't go back.

The one that I usually go to, many of my friends have left and so I just end up sitting all by myself at the back. I usually head on home straight after as nobody hangs around as they all have their own families to visit.

I'm not keen on the megachurch that many go to and even the smaller ones are way too noisy and over-involving. So I haven't been to a service in ages.

I think maybe I'm not cut out to attend church this year with the covid thing etc. Even the bible study I used to go weekly, but because it's at an elders home, she being over 70 didn't really want me to keep coming as I work in school, where I pick up all sorts of bugs etc. And then I got busy anyway, so going out at night again just seemed too much.

In fact I welcomed a bit of social distancing because I was just feeling crowded out by church obligations. I do like having a rest on Sunday though i.e not having to work, and reading my Bible, but I don't know if God working on me to get back to a routine or going to show me somewhere new.

I think of the children that skipped school or sporadically attended though at level 2 and how much they missed out, but I think they had their own difficulties with regular attendance that I find I have with church. It's not that they don't want to go, but other things crop up that prevent them.
 
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Dec 19, 2014
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I finally did get to church today, hooray.

They are still having it online though, but it was nice to be able to give my offering (books) and see people, and sing together. And I was encouraged for doing so, even when I don't think I do all that much!
 
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