Is attendance to one’s local church optional or is it mandated? Is church attendance something that someone can do when it is convenient and nicely fits into his or her schedule or is it something that is to be prioritized? How important is church attendance?
This is one of those topics where balance is needed.
On the one hand, we must avoid the legalistic approach that says if you are not in church at least three times a week you can’t be right with God. On the other hand, we must also avoid the mindset that says church attendance is not important at all. It is crucially important. How can we claim to be committed to Christ and yet treat the visible manifestation of his Bride as an afterthought?
Here are a few quotes from another church’s membership policy published by 9marks.org that I found helpful.
1- “Faithful church attendance does not earn salvation, nor does it act as a measure to rate spiritual greatness over and against other people. It does, however, reflect a growing commitment to the gospel, the good of the church community, and spiritual health.”
2- “We understand this commitment to mean that members will make every effort to be present to worship.”
3- “Faithful attendance honors Christ and builds up His church. Non-attendance moves in the other direction. It makes light of His name and harms His church in many ways and for many reasons.”
4- “Everyone who bears the name of Christ—as affirmed by a local church by calling them a “member”—yet who willingly chooses to live their lives apart from the covenanted community of believers is practicing identity theft. They’ve taken Christ’s name, but they don’t honestly identify with his body, the local church. Living unaccountable lives, they make evangelism harder for other Christians, because, often, they aren’t living like Christians.”
5- “New believers need good models (Acts 18:24-26; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Titus 2:2-6). When the doctrine they’re taught doesn’t sync with the models they see in the absentees, they become confused.”
Believers should prioritize attendance to a local church. As the quotes above indicate, it is more than just a habitual routine. It reflects commitment to your spiritual health and to your church’s spiritual health.