A recent church survey has adjusted what is considered a church member to one/s whom attend church once a month. A well-known Christian leader in the UK commented that people, church members, are now attending on average only once, or if you are lucky two times, per month. I’m not sure who is the unlucky one, although I do have my suspicions.
The reasons cited are various and occasionally valid. If we take out holidays, unusual seasons of grief or difficulty (which are consistent with being human) and other unforseen circumstances, we are still dealing with a huge change of commitment to God’s church – and that is exactly what this phenomena is. In effect this means people are getting to church maybe ten times per year, with Easter and Christmas thrown in for good measure.
Church is becoming a hobby – something that we enjoy, spend some time and money on, but just as easily, something that doesn’t require anything more of us than a hobby. Hobbies are generally fun and distracting, and not much more.
My Problem. When this becomes the norm much of the NT writings of Paul are voided and avoided. It simply is not possible to actively serve Jesus Christ and his Church at home. And the end result will be a faith that gradually drifts into a private perception; that is before it becomes irrelevant. The New Testament knows of no such faith as the privatised perceptions of early 21st century people. We stand together, we collapse apart – if I understand anything about the church and the practise of our faith.
Some Answers. A fresh insight into the nature, value and ultimate importance of the church as revealed by Paul – the great master builder. A renewal by the Holy Spirit of connection, contribution and commitment to the church. A church worth going to – that matters, as some aren’t. A wake up call by God’s new ‘Diaspora’ – the scattered and disconnected people – who should be neither. An opening of the eyes to the subtle and insidious workings of the devil. And maybe some new expressions of viable church and community wouldn’t hurt as well.
But however we look at it – church was never intended to be a hobby, much less ‘A Christian Hobby.’