January 4, 2017

Reasons We Miss Church (But May Not Need To)

by Eric Davis

summer-2011-145With each passing year it seems like life gets busier, making it harder to prioritize priorities. Even church can get crowded out of our schedule. While there are legitimate reasons why we cannot always gather for things like Sunday worship and home groups, we ought to be cautious here. Often times, we forsake gatherings for not-the-best reasons.

In no particular order, here are a few reasons why we often miss church gatherings but probably do not need to.

  1. “There is no command that says I need to go to church every Sunday.”

I have never understood this one. It is either innocently ignorant or intentionally dishonest.

I wonder if we would say the same thing about our jobs. “There are no verses that say I need to show up at 7am, like my boss says, so I’m sleeping in.” And the same goes for verses about the Trinity.

We know that Scripture’s truth claims are deduced from explicit truth-principles, implicit truth-principles, inferred truth-principles, or illustrated truth-principles.

When it comes to prioritizing church gatherings, we could cite a few passages:

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Heb. 10:23-25).

All 40 one anothers. One anothers require one another. The NT seems to equate those who are in Christ with those who are in local churches.

By application, we could also cite passages that command us to grow (e.g. Phi. 2:12; gathering for worship is a great way in which we do so), worship/love God (e.g. Ps. 95:6, Matt. 22:37; we gather for worship), use our gifts in the body (e.g. 1 Pet. 4:10-11; gatherings are prime avenues for this), and submitting to a visible biblical leadership team (e.g. Heb. 13:17; gathering is a prime way to honor this command).

Similarly, Mark Dever writes,

“Except for the rarest of circumstances, a true Christian builds his life into the lives of other believers through the concrete fellowship of a local church. He knows he has not yet arrived. He’s still fallen and needs the accountability and instruction of that local body of people called the church. And they need him” (What is a Healthy Church?, 28).

Does this mean I must attend every single Bible study, prayer meeting, and event my church has going on? Well, why are we asking? In a spirit of humble teachability so as to allow God to work through my imperfect church to equip me for the work of the ministry (cf. Eph. 4:11-13)? You can participate in as many as you want. A good place to start is asking your church leaders to shepherd you through that decision.

  1. “There aren’t any good churches in my area.”

Tragically, this is a common reality for too many people. But, if it is true, does this mean that I can’t plug into a church? Probably not. But it will mean some effort and sacrifice.

moving_van

srmovers.com

I may need to simply pray for discernment, find the best church within a few hours, plug in, be patient, pray for the church, and humbly seek to benefit in every way possible.

Or I may need to move. People do this all of the time. Getting God’s kind of biblical care through a New Testament church is important enough to relocate. It will take prayer and sacrifice, but we can assume that our God is so loving that he will not forsake us should we make a decision to move with the motivation of plugging into a faithful church.

Or, with the help of seasoned biblical leadership, I may need to be involved in planting a new church.

Whatever the case, the absence of a good church is insufficient reason to not plug in.

  1. Family/friends are in from out of town.

For many reasons, when family or friends are visiting, we will not gather with the church. Perhaps they are not Christians, thus we do not want to do something they dislike during their stay. But when we prioritize church so as to keep Christ central, that communicates a needed message to unregenerate friends and family. And their disapproval thereof does not mean it’s an unneeded message. In gentleness, these occasions can create discussions around the centrality and supremacy of Christ. This may mean our friends/family refuse to join us, but that’s ok. Jesus had much to say about that (e.g. Matt. 10:34-39). When it comes to friends/family or Christ, Christ is the obvious and loving choice.

Perhaps we have a short visit with them, thus want to maximize our time. Our time with loved ones is often best spent by tangibly showing them the centrality of Christ in our lives. One main way to do that is not forsaking Sunday worship or Bible study. Plus, those times very well could be the most meaningful during their short stay. Conversations are started. Consciences are pricked. Christ is seen.

Perhaps we have plans to show them around, thus going to church would not fit in the schedule. Again, we’ll love friends/family best by showing them how our lives revolve around Christ, and not the opposite. And, what better site to see in our town than our local church?

  1. “The preacher/teacher I like is not preaching/teaching.”

This kind of thinking puts trust in men. It says, in effect, “So-and-so teacher/preacher doesn’t tickle my fancy as much as so-and-so, thus, God is incapable of working through them to edify me.”

Additionally, it makes obedience to, and worship of, God contingent upon what I like. But, aren’t we glad that Christ did not take that attitude with us? “Yeah, Father, I’m not excited about dying on the cross, so, I’ll sit this one out.”

And, it myopically reduces church gatherings to what I like during the teaching time. But what about my responsibility to welcome visitors? Hear announcements? Serve in a ministry? Sing? Give? Pray? Set up? Encourage the faint-hearted? Help the weak? Confront the confident? Obey my leadership?

  1. “I can watch the/another gathering online, or listen to a message online.”

“Well, at the time it was written, Scripture did not anticipate all of the technology we’d have today. I can get what I need online.” When God inspired the commands to gather and one-another, being omniscient, he knew of the technological 5minute-virtual-vacation-24-728advances which he would ordain in his providence. His commands have not changed. We are to be present bodily and physically when possible.

I wonder if we’d use this same reasoning about, say, taking a vacation or attending our child’s graduation. “I can see the warm, Hawaiian waters from YouTube.” “I can just have someone record my kid’s graduation and watch it later.”

There are times when we simply cannot participate in gatherings. During those occasions, online messages are handy. But as a pattern, it’s not God’s design.

  1. Recent birth of a child.

The joy of adding a family member can be a tad tricky logistically. Labor, hospital stays, and medical attention can prevent us from gathering. However, we need not prolong absence from gathering once those things conclude. It certainly will be more difficult to attend with an infant, but, as we trust, and seek the help of, our powerful God, we can be sure that he will help us stay plugged in.

If we are uncertain about logistics in attending, we can approach our elders for assistance. Perhaps our church has a nursery/cry room. If not, we can ask if it’d be possible to create one. If we are concerned about our child crying, and there is no cry room, perhaps we could stand in the back of the gathering area. If we need help getting the family together to attend, we could ask individuals in our small group for assistance. If we are concerned about our infant getting sick, we could ask our elders for suggestions for that, too.

  1. Gatherings are too long.

And they might be. But in our culture, this seems rare.

During Israel’s day (before refrigerators, freezers, grocery stores, washing machines, and cars), there were times when they gathered for several hours (e.g. Neh. 8:3, 9:3). And, during more recent times, three hours was the norm for a Sunday gathering. In a commentary where he reproves those who thought their three-hour gatherings were too long, Matthew Henry writes, “We think three hours too much to attend upon public ordinances…” (Commentary on the Whole Bible, Vol. 5, p. 180).

Considering the greatness of God, the command for preaching, the need for our souls to be replenished each week as we are drained, the joy of worship, and the one another commands, longer than shorter Sunday gatherings is realistic. One and a half to two hours is entirely reasonable. And, weekly gatherings for home/small groups is no less needed.

  1. It conflicts with the kids’/family’s schedule/sleep/sports/stuff.

Faithfulness to our family requires time. Shopping, laundry, bed-time routines, family devotions, diapers, dishes, discipline, meals, yardwork, sports, homework, driving, etc., eats up the schedule. And God knew that when he asked us to keep himself central in our lives. Again, I think back to Israel (and the church) in their days before washing machines, freezers, and cars. How did they do it? God.

Hand writing Priorities list with marker isolated on white.

mhmrcv.org

We could not possibly address all of the unique sports/sleep/schedule situations here. But a few suggestions. First, God will not prevent us from obedience to him. Whether we have a family of two or twenty, his grace is sufficient. When it comes to gathering, it’s about allowing God to care for us in the way in which he has determined. This side of heaven, that involves consistent and candid commitment to a NT local church.

Second, we may need to sit down as a family and make some adjustments so as to put God at the center. These are rich times, spiritually. We can pray as a family, recognizing that it does require some not-always-easy adjustments. And we could pray as a family for God to strengthen us in the adjustments, asking for help to get to bed, sleep well, and endure any potential inconveniences therefrom, knowing that Christ is so good that he is willing to help us in the adjustments we make for his glory.

Third, we can discuss with our family how it takes a measure of sacrifice to follow Christ (Matt 16:24). Perhaps not going to bed at the ideal time is one of those sacrifices. As we discuss Christ’s sacrifice for us, we can gain strength and perspective to, then, continue in sacrifice for him by adjusting our schedules at times. On the front end, such adjustments and sacrifices (e.g. later nights, earlier mornings, less sports events) may seem impossible. But with God, all things are possible. And not everything that the culture says is a need is a need. Again, these are wonderful times to show our kids that life is not about making and morphing a god into our image/schedule/sports, but morphing ourselves into his will. That is what it means to seek first his kingdom (Matt. 6:33) and, “…as for me and my house” to “serve the Lord” (Jos. 24:15). It’s doubtful that our God will decide to withhold blessing from our family for living with him as central and supreme.

Also, these can provide great opportunities to involve other members of the body to help us out. And, as God’s people, we mustn’t be too proud to request help.

  1. Church is far away.

As mentioned above, there are situations in which people must make large commutes to gather with a NT kind of church. I’ve known people who commute multiple hours one way. This is not always easy. But again, worship involves sacrifice (Rom. 12:1), in light of the great sacrifice our Lord made for us.

Consider speaking to your leadership team about suggestions and assistance. A move may be considered.

  1. “I work during the church gatherings.”

In a Genesis 3 world, putting a meal on the table is not without sweat and toil. And yet, God knew that when he commanded us both to work and gather. In fact, during Old Covenant days, he commanded Israel to worship even during “plowing time and harvest” (Exod. 34:21). That could make one nervous in an agrarian society. Why did God command this? He is that important. Worship is that essential. And, God is that trustworthy.

Gathering with our church for edification is simply a matter of trusting God. Do I trust him to provide for me even if I make the necessary decision of prioritizing gatherings over working? Is God that loving and capable to take care of me?

pray

acts2414.com

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:5-6).

“Well, I’m scheduled to work. There’s nothing I can do.” That might be the case. But, have we prayed that God would change our schedule? Have we asked our leadership for advice? Have we sought God?

  1. “I am travelling.”

Time away for vacation and refreshment is necessary in life. However, sometimes we seem to always schedule that weekend trip, vacation, or camping getaway during a church gathering. The consideration here is more about the frequency and timing of travel.

Perhaps we could pray about being intentional with how and when we schedule our getaway. We could consider minimizing the amount of Sundays missed. Again, it comes down to the reality that Christ calls us to sacrifice and self-denial in light of his glory and love for us.

  1. “Some hard things have happened and I need space.”

Times exist when great tragedy will keep us from corporate worship. However, during hardship, let’s recall that the body of Christ is a great way in which God exercises his care for us. For the most part, it makes no more sense to forsake fellowship during hardship than it does to forsake recovering during illness. The church is God’s channel of support and strength.

Interestingly, in Psalm 42, the discouraged and grieving psalmist recounts the joy of corporate worship (v. 4). His grief reminds him of the need and desire to gather with God’s people.

  1. “I’m tired.”

Is anyone not this side of heaven?

 14. “The church isn’t a location or an event but people, so I don’t need to be there.”

Sigh.

 15. “My spouse/significant other/roommate is staying home so I will too.”

Unless the individual cannot physically survive a few hours without our presence, this is not the best reason to miss a church gathering. In fact, it’s probably a loving gesture to attend if they cannot. In addition to showing the glory of Christ, we also can report to the body on their needs and bring back what we learned for the other’s edification.

 16. “I know all of these reasons, but you just don’t understand my situation.”

There is no doubt that life is thorned and thistled. Tragedies invade. God knows. He sees. He loves. He gives grace. One’s salvation will not be forfeited for missing church. Christ’s finished work is what secures our salvation.

However, let us recall, that while our church leaders may not understand circumstances in our lives for which we miss church, our God certainly does. He knows. He is always with us for our good. And he has provided us with the gift of his body and bride. Therefore, since we are commanded to visibly plug into a church, we can assume that this loving God, who understands our circumstances will help in our unique circumstances.

rugged-crossAt this point, it’s possible that some might play the legalism card. But, this exhortation is not saying that prioritizing church is a means by which we merit righteousness before God. The Person and work of Christ alone is our righteousness. A church leadership who enthusiastically encourages Christians to attend gatherings is not being legalistic, but loving. It’s an act of faithfulness for leaders to do so.

More reasons exist for why we miss church but may not need to. Whatever the case, worshiping Christ is going to often require sacrifice. But, we know that he who sacrificed himself for us is ever-present to strengthen us in our lesser sacrifices. And, we are to seek first the kingdom of God. We are to deny ourselves in obedience to Christ. Not always, but sometimes, the reasons we fail to gather are simply because we prioritize our kingdom over God’s. If you’ve struggled like I have at times, our approach to church gatherings can show that we expect God to fit into our schedules. In other words, we worship God only if it’s convenient, which is another way of saying we worship ourselves. But, when our hearts are enthusiastic about something, we will find practical ways to make that thing happen.

Christ loves the church. He bought her with his blood. He is exclusively devoted to her because she is his bride. Do we love what Christ loves? We cannot say that we have a heart of love for Christ while at the same time having a heart of apathy for his bride. If we do not love what Christ loves, then we do not love Christ. He cherishes his church. So must we. Since Christ has loved us as much as he has, is as great as he is, has redeemed us from what he has, and has commanded us what he has, it only makes sense that the Christian would set local church gatherings as an immovable fixture in their weekly schedule. Christ really is that worthy.

Eric Davis

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Eric is the pastor of Cornerstone Church in Jackson Hole, WY. He and his team planted the church in 2008. Leslie is his wife of 14 years and mother of their 3 children.
  • What a great post. Good job brother.

  • Jeff Schlottmann

    Well this is a difficult list because I’ve been guilty of many of those. I’m making changes though. I recently had to change jobs so I could get back in church. Things run through my head like, what if the new job doesn’t pay as much? Turns out it didn’t matter. I don’t regret the decision at all.

    • Jeff Schlottmann

      You do know that article from the Babylon Bee was satire, right? It’s not real. Stick to the pickles man.

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  • Michelle Dacus Lesley

    Excellent! This is an issue that has been weighing on my heart. Also, it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one advising people to consider moving or calling in a church planter if they can’t find a doctrinally sound church in their area. It really IS that important! :0)

  • Creighton Ring

    “In other words, we worship God only if it’s convenient, which is another way of saying we worship ourselves.”

    Yeeeeowch! Well put! Our own personal priorities/pragmatism seeps in slowly when we are prayerless and not in the Word and regular fellowship. Decisions of convenience even begin to look wise when we allow our thought patterns to slide into idolatry. Thanks for loving The Bridegroom and His Church enough to speak clearly!

  • A Amos Love

    Hmmm?

    #1…
    “…and submitting to a visible **biblical leadership team** (e.g. Heb. 13:17…”

    “A good place to start is asking your **church leaders**
    to shepherd you through that decision.”
    ——–

    In the Bible, Does Jesus, or any of **His Disciples,** ever mention…
    A **biblical leadership team?** Or, **church leaders?**

    Hasn’t anyone ever wondered? Why? In the Bible?

    NOT one of **His Disciples** ever called them self “leader?”
    Or, **church leader?**

    NOT one of **His Disciples** ever called another Disciple, “leader?”
    Or, **church leader?**
    ———-

    If being one of **His Disciples** is important? – To you?

    Wouldn’t what Jesus taught **His Disciples,** in the Bible…
    Be a good place to start?

    Wouldn’t what **His Disciples,** did, in the Bible…
    Be a good example to Follow?

    • chrisleduc1

      Would love to interact with you but I’m always a little leery of interacting with people who go on a public forum and create a profile, and then intentionally hide all their comment history by making it private. It’s like there is something to hide, especially knowing that making one’s comments “private” requires and intentional change of the settings. Anyway, if you decide to remove the veil of anonymity, I’d be happy to address some of your questions and comments.
      Just as an FYI – you likely won’t get much interaction at all here as long as you choose to remain “private.”

      • A Amos Love

        chrisleduc1

        I understand how you are feeling leery. Me Too…

        “I’m always a little leery of interacting with people
        who go on a public forum and” say…

        “Would love to interact with you but…”

        And then come up with a foolish reason…
        Why they will NOT interact. 😉

        Hmmm? Beause my comments are “private?”
        Is that a sensible reason to feel leery?
        Let’s take a vote. Yes?

        And in that process of **NOT Interacting** 🙂 🙂
        The bullie attempts to put someone down…
        To make them feel “less than” in order to gain control.

        Acussing them, “It’s like there is something to hide…”

        Reminds me of many wanna-be “church leaders”
        I’ve interacted with over the years.
        ————

        NO – I do NOT trust your motives. Or believe your comment.

        ———-

        Ps 138:6
        Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly:
        but the proud he knoweth afar off.

        Ps 40:4
        Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust,
        and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

        • chrisleduc1

          There is a certain sad irony here when one compares your screen name and the avatar next to your screen name, with your actual your behavior.

          If you think that the way you’ve responded to me – accusing, judging, insinuating, condemning, comes anywhere close to how the Bible describes love in 1 Cor 13, then I truly hope you’ll reconsider. Your behavior is NOTHING like the Biblical love you’ve chosen to use as your avatar and screen name.

          “4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 [b]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

          • A Amos Love

            chrisleduc1

            Since you have become an overcomer…
            (Good for you.) 😉

            And have overcome being, “a little leery of interacting with people…” Who, “hide all their comment history by making it private.” By lovingly, patiently, pointing out my many faults.

            And, since you now have the courage to interact with me. Maybe you can now find some additional courage?

            And try to answer some of the original questions?
            ——–

            Haven’t you, chrisleduc1,
            Ever wondered? Why? In the Bible?

            NOT one of **His Disciples**
            Ever called them self “Leader?”
            Or, **church leader?**

            NOT one of **His Disciples**
            Ever called another Disciple, “Leader?”
            Or, **church leader?**
            ———-

            If being one of **His Disciples**
            Is important? – To you?

            Wouldn’t what Jesus taught **His Disciples,** In the Bible, Be a good place to start?

            Wouldn’t what **His Disciples,** Did, in the Bible…
            Be a good example to Follow?
            ———-

            What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
            What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

    • Matt Mumma

      What about verses like Acts 20:17, Titus 1:5, 1 Peter 5:1-2, among others that clearly state there are “elders” or leaders overseeing the church?

    • Nicki Ann

      Hebrews 13:17 (ESV)
      Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

    • Jason

      This seems like arguing semantics.

      While Christ is head over the church, the leadership provided by the apostles and then the local elders(sometimes called overseers, shepherds, etc…) was exactly what Christ’s disciples thought was best for the church.

      Eldership ought to be based on maturity lived out within the congregation rather than resumes and trial periods (something rarely seen today, but found rather explicitly in scripture), but you’d have to ignore the concept entirely to say that leadership shouldn’t belong in the church.

      Hebrews 13 isn’t saying “submit to leaders, but none exist, so shuck the idea of authority and go your own way”. Paul specifically leaves Titus in Crete to appoint mature members to lead the local congregations in the cities there (Titus 1:5).

      • A Amos Love

        Jason and Matt – You both mention Titus 1:5.

        When I was entering into “church leadership” I did NOT pay attention to 1 Tim 3:1-7, or Titus 1:5-8. I just listened to my elders, leaders, who said I was called by God. Who was I to argue with such wonderful wisdom from such wise men. 😉

        Hmmm? – “Bread of deceit is sweet to a man;
        but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.”
        Pro 20:17 KJV

        Yes – I wound up eating lots of gravel. But, what should an elder/overseer do? When they realize they do NOT meet these very tuff Qualifications? Sounds like quite a challenge. Yes?
        I had to live that challenge. 🙁

        And, over the years I’ve noticed, most who call themselves “pastor/elder/overseer” also “Ignore,” and often, “Twist,” the 17+, very, very, tuff Qualifications, in 1 Tim 3:1-7, and Titus 1:5-8. 🙁
        And many will wind up eating lots of gravel. Oy Vey!!!

        Just try asking any “pastor/elder/overseer;” Do you Qualify according to 1 Tim 3:1-7, and Titus 1:5-8? Try pointing out just a few of the 17+, qualifications, and see what reaction you get.

        Will you see… Elders as Living Examples of…

        1 – NOT lording it over “God’s heritage?” 1 Pet 5:3 KJV
        2 – Lowliness of mind? Phil 2:3 KJV
        3 – Esteeming others “better” than themselves? Phil 2:3 KJV
        4 – Submitting “One to Another?” Eph 5:21 KJV, 1 Pet 5:5 KJV
        5 – Prefering others before themselves? Rom 12:10 KJV

        That’s rarely the reaction one will see “Today.”

        Or will they quote Heb 13:17?
        And threaten “church discipline?”
        ———-

        Ps 138:6
        Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly:
        but the proud he knoweth afar off.

        Ps 40:4
        Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust,
        and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

      • A Amos Love

        Jason and Matt

        Here’s just the one Qualification found in both 1 Tim 3, and Titus.

        1 – Must Be *BLAMELESS.*

        Titus 1:5-8 KJV
        5 …ordain elders in every city…
        6 If any be *BLAMELESS,* the husband of one wife,
        having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
        7 For a bishop “Must Be” *BLAMELESS,*
        as the steward of God; NOT self willed, NOT soon angry,
        NOT given to wine, NO striker, NOT given to filthy lucre;
        8 a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober,
        *JUST,* *HOLY,* temperate;

        1 – *Must Be*
        Strongs #1163, die. – It is necessary (as binding).
        Thayer’s – necessity established by the counsel and decree of God.
        This *must be* is the same – You *must be* born again. Jn 3:7
        Seems to be a small word but very important. Yes?

        1 – BLAMELESS
        Strongs #410 anegkletos – unaccused, irreproachable, blameless.
        Thayers – cannot be called into account, unreproveable.
        Dictionary – Without fault, innocent, guiltless, not meriting censure.

        Now, that’s one tuff Qualification, – Yes?

        How many, pastor/leader/reverends, who honestly examine themselves, seriously considering this one qualification,can see themselves as BLAMELESS, without fault, unreproveable, above reproach, and thus qualify to be an elder/overseer?

        And if they can see them self as BLAMELESS?
        Is that pride? Deception? Delusion?

        And NO longer without fault? Above reproach? 🙂

        The Bible talks about elder/overseers.
        And Qualifications for elder/overseers.

        Can you have one without the other?

        And, when a pastor/elder/overseer does NOT Qualify???
        Should they remove themselves?
        And be a good example to the Flock?

      • A Amos Love

        Jason and Matt

        Here’s two more very, very, tuff Qualifications from Titus.

        That most, like me, who desire to be an elder/overseer…
        That most, like me, who promote themselves as an elder/overseer…

        Tend to “Ignore,” or “Twist.” 🙁

        2 – JUST
        Strongs #1342 – dikaios – by implication, innocent, right, righteous.
        Thayers – observing divine laws, innocent, faultless, guiltless.

        3 – HOLY
        Strongs #3741 – hosios
        Thayers – undefiled by sin, free from wickedness,
        religiously observing every moral obligation, pure.

        Now that’s three very tough qualifications for elder/overseers. Yes?

        1 – Must Be *BLAMELESS.*
        2 – JUST. 3 – HOLY.

        Blameless, Free from wickedness, righteous, observing divine laws, innocent, above reproach, guiltless…

        If WE, His Ekklesia, His Church, His Sheep, His Kings and Priests…
        Take seriously the many tough Qualifications in 1 Tim 3, and Titus…
        The number of **Biblically Qualified,** elder/overseers…
        Is quite small. 😉

        Do you know many, any, who Quote, “Obey your leaders…” a lot…
        Who promote, and meet, these three very tuff Qualifications?

        Are WE, His Sheep, His Disciples, His Servants?
        Required to “Obey” and “Submit” to someone?
        Who promotes them self as elder? leader?
        But, does NOT meet the Qualifications?
        Paul gives to Timothy and Titus?

        What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
        What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

        • Nicki Ann

          AAL: You seem to be expecting that an elder/pastor/leader is going to be perfect. Only one is sinless.

          A husband is also called to love his wife as Christ loved the Church. Is there any husband that does not fall short in the sincerest effort to be faithful to that command? Does his lack negate the command to his wife to submit to his headship?

          • And I’m Cute, Too

            I don’t think Amos is expecting sinless lives from anyone, Nicki. According to the verses he quoted, God demands elders and deacons be blameless. Amos is simply challenging us to recognize what a high standard that is, and whether we should be submitting ourselves to the authority of those who don’t meet it.

            And I can’t speak for Amos’ views on gender comp, but I know I don’t see a need for wives to submit to their husbands one-sidedly. Believers are supposed to submit to each other. That’s what’s clear from scripture.

          • Nicki Ann

            AIC: I wonder how you are defining submission especially in the context of marriage?

            You are correct of course that scripture commands us to submit to one another. Given that you accept that I wonder why you recoil so at the idea of a wife submitting to her husband and doubly so given that scripture clearly speaks of that specifically even saying she is to submit in EVERYTHING (Eph. 5:24)?

            There are of course also commands specifically to the husband and I would suggest that one reason Ephesians 5:24 is offensive is the history of men focusing on commands to the wife instead of focusing on what scripture says to them. Conversely, the wife’s rebellious heart seeking to rule over her own life and over her husband is also a problem. Remember we are to submit “as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22; see also James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:6, etc.).

          • A Amos Love

            Nickie Ann

            “You seem to be expecting that
            an elder/pastor/leader is going to be perfect.”

            NOPE – NOT me…

            Paul, and most likely Jesus…
            Are the ones who required these Qualifications. – NOT me…

            I just came to understand…
            I, Amos, did NOT meet these tuff Qualifications…
            I did NOT Qualify to call myself elder/leader…
            And have people “Obey” and “Submit” to me…

            So, I had to make a choice, and choose…

            Did I want to be known as elder/leader?
            And have people “Obey” and “Submit” to me?
            Even though I did NOT Qualify?

            Or, did I want to be one of **His Disciples?**
            Who, in the Bible, ALL called themselves “Servants.’

            Where, In the Bible…
            NOT one of **His Disciples** called them self “leader?”
            Or called another Disciple, “leader?”

            That’s a choice many are faced with…
            ——–

            And, I’m-a-thinkn, Paul, and most likely Jesus…
            Were expecting the elder/overseers…
            Who Timothy and Titus were to ordain, to be…

            1 – *BLAMELESS.*
            2 – JUST. 3 – HOLY.
            ——–

            Why would someone “become” an elder/overseer?
            Why would someone “remain” an elder/overseer?

            If they know they do NOT Qualify?

            Which Qualifications can WE, His Sheep, “Ignore?”
            Which Qualifications are NOT important?

            When you believe the lie you start to die…

          • Nicki Ann

            AAL: I’d be interested in Eric’s response to your post.

            It strikes me that seeing oneself as unworthy is an important part of qualifying to be a pastor/elder.

    • Nicki Ann

      AAL There is a close parallel between church leadership and a husband’s headship in the home. There are commands/qualifications for both and there are universal principles that apply to all believers that apply to them as well. There are also balancing principles such as recourse when they abuse their authority in a serious way and do not repent. I say in a serious way because in this lifetime we all have remaining sin and just as a wife submits to a husband who will struggle with sin all of his days the church is
      charged with submitting to pastors/elders who are themselves sinners who will never be fully sanctified in this lifetime. I have a hunch that our Savior
      would have us all submitting to one another and dying to ourselves far more
      than we generally know today.

      One of the hardest things for a young wife to learn is that submission is about TRUSTING GOD to lead through her husband and not about faith in the man. God sovereignly works for her good, their good, and His glory even when the husband makes colossal errors in judgment or sins even in a grievous way. The same is true in the church.

      Remember David the murderer/adulterer who repented and did not lose his
      authority over Israel or over his own home. It’s safe to assume he was selfish in other ways not recorded in scripture, he likely was at times ungrateful, demanding, irritable, and didn’t hang up his bath towels or put his socks in the hamper and none of that impacted his role as a leader in Israel or in his home. So too are our church leaders less than perfect but that does not negate God’s command to submit to them according to scripture.

      Scripture gives us clear instruction on how to respond to sin against us and it does not include simply throwing off imperfect authority.

      • A Amos Love

        Nicki Ann

        I certainly agree with you when you write…

        “I have a hunch that our Savior
        would have us **all submitting to one another**
        and dying to ourselves
        far more than we generally know today.”

        Eph 5:21 NKJV
        **Submitting to one another** in the fear of God.

        1 Pet 5:5 NKJV
        Likewise you younger people,
        submit yourselves to your elders.
        **Yes, all of you be submissive to one another,**
        and **be clothed with humility,**
        for “God resists the proud,
        But gives **grace to the humble.**”

        ———-

        Then they that feared the LORD
        spake often one to another:
        and the LORD hearkened, and heard it,
        and a book of remembrance was written before him
        for them that feared the LORD,
        and that thought upon his name.
        Malachi 3:16 KJV

      • Shy

        “submission is about TRUSTING GOD to lead through her husband and not about faith in the man.”

        Nicki, if this concept is not taught in the Bible (and I don’t believe it is), then isn’t it wrong of a woman to expect God to work this way? And if she is living as though God is leading her through her husband and he isn’t, then what is happening?

        I’ve been a Christian and an avid Bible reader for 40 years and many of the concepts you’ve expressed in this post are not things I have seen laid out in the Bible, they are things that have developed recently through teachings of certain men who write lots of books. I want to challenge you to take some time to set all preconceived ideas aside and read the Bible fresh, with only the Spirit guiding you. Read it simply to see what it says first: what happened, when, to whom? And only when you have finished it, let the central themes come together in your mind. I believe you will find that many doctrines have been woven out of a sentence here, a phrase there, which do not actually express what the whole is about, but which serve organizations and hierarchies that benefit from yours and others’ following.

        • Nicki Ann

          Hi Shy!

          If you’re a student of the Word you know what it says about a wife submitting to her husband and the husband’s headship. Here’s a link to a brief synopsis so I won’t summarize it here. I appreciate that this article makes clear a woman is not called to submit to ALL men only to her own husband.

          https://www.gotquestions.org/wives-submit.html

          I’d encourage you to study the relationship between Christ and His Bride the Church… and then the scripture that says marriage is a picture of that relationship.

          Another passage key to what I wrote is Romans 8:28-29. Often verse 28 is cited without the context of verse 29. All things, including biblical submission, including the sins of others, and including our own sin, work to the good of our sanctification.

          As I’ve already said, scripture also speaks to abusive authority both in the context of confronting, involving others and taking it to the church, and even the law. I am not suggesting a wife is to “submit” to abuse as the church has sadly all too often taught.

          Not everything clearly taught in scripture is taken from a single passage. We have to combine what is said specifically (about marriage, etc.) to what is said generally (about conflict, God’s purposes, etc.).

          This is really a hugely important principle for one because scripture says marriage is a picture to the world of Christ’s relationship to the Church. As a bonus, it gives a woman a head start on understanding and responding to authority in the church.

          • And I’m Cute, Too

            I’d encourage you to study the relationship between Christ and His Bride the Church… and then the scripture that says marriage is a picture of that relationship.

            Yes, a picture of the unity between Christ and the church. That’s Paul’s focus in that passage — unity, not hierarchy.

          • Nicki Ann

            AIC: Please support your statement with scripture.

            Specifically, where does the Bible speak of unity between Christ and His Church and what does it say about Christ loving His Bride and her submitting to Him?

  • 072591

    I have a much longer response coming, but one of the biggest errors with this post is the fact that you refer to someone skipping church as forsaking. I looked up the definition with both the Oxford and Mirriam-Webster dictionaries and the definition of forsake is to renounce or to turn completely from. Skipping church one Sunday for extenuating circumstances is not forsaking.

    • Eric Davis

      Hi 072591 (is that how you prefer to be addressed?)-
      Thanks for stopping by. My apologies for any lack of clarity. The intention was to communicate something along the lines of, “..not attend church based on some of the aforementioned reasons, whether one, or more, Sundays.” In other words, in the article, I had hoped to address reasons behind why we sometimes will not attend the corporate gathering; reasons which are often not good ones.

  • scatcatpdx

    I agree with most but a few cases says to me you still got a lot to learn and be more discerning and realistic young man.
    2. “There aren’t any good churches in my area.” I have to agree with you here. My church is the only Anglican Church we have people commuting 50 miles to attend. But in a bigger city that never the case One may go out of their denomination many of member of my Anglican Church were members of another denomination.
    6. Recent birth of a child. Depends how recent like first 10 weeks. In this case you are being very unrealistic . Remember one job of the pastor is visitation.

    10. “I work during the church gatherings.” Again you being shortsighted and unrealistic. Some do not have that choice, like Christians in 24 -7 operations like Police, Firemen, Military (Duty day during my 12 years in the Navy), or field service. I have only 7 weeks of unemployment left, I may have chose between shift work on Sunday or homelessness. Now there are some sacrifice like not taking a job that includes Sunday shift work.

    The again you need to think like a minister instead of criticism; be the solution like multiple service during the week to minister to shift workers, then there no excuse.

    11. “I am travelling.” For work related travel see 10. for recreational travel it a matter of scheduling and research, not traveling on Sundays. For me traveling means seeing a new city but also joy going to a different church, meeting new Christians especially international travel. Then again I may have do morning pray by myself because no nearby churches in some Muslim, or Asian countries like Malaysia.
    I do go to fan conventions and do panels and stipulate I am not available from 8:00am to 1:00pm on Sunday. only a few time I did not go to church because I did not have any transportation to a good church nearby( other than liberal, Mormon,or mega churches nearby) .

    • Eric Davis

      Hi Scatcatpdx –
      Thanks for commenting. You’re right, I have so much to learn still. I praise God that he daily bears with a wretch like me. I’ll respond briefly in order and gently push back a bit. First, as to your comment on childbirth, I understand it’s tough. I have 3 kids and have been pastoring a congregation for several years where we average several babies born each year. With kids come logistical and medical battles at times. I might disagree that it’s “very unrealistic” for new moms to attend after a week or so of getting out of the hospital. It will not be easy, of course, but it is not very unrealistic, especially as the body helps with meals, logistics, nursery rooms, etc. Second, amen on pastoral visitation! What a privilege to do so. Third, obviously our brothers and sisters working hard in the military, fire dept, sheriff, pd, etc. will have conflict. We have some in our membership. However, the ones who are not deployed would tell you that they can still pray and seek God (as mentioned in #10), asking him to provide a way to stay in fellowship. It may or ma not always be possible. As to your comment on travelling, amen! In certain countries, there’s nothing we can do, except pray to our sovereign God to build his church there. God is gracious. Christ loves us. Our salvation is secure based on the Person and finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross! For all who put faith in him alone, we are permanently declared in right standing with holy God! What a privilege it is to serve him.

      • my2cents

        Eric, I say this with respect, so please read no tone into my comment, but your body has never gone through childbirth. For you to say that it’s realistic for women to get to church “a week or so” after giving birth is a little absurd to me (a woman who has given birth). I definitely don’t think it’s reasonable for a woman to miss church for months after she has a baby, but as a father yourself, I would think you would have a little more understanding for everything new parents have to adjust to in those first few weeks. Every person and situation is different and new parents need a lot of grace, which I’m sure you’d agree. After our baby was born, my husband and I would listen to sermons online or watch a live stream on Sunday mornings until we felt that we were ready, and that our baby was ready to go back to church.

        • Eric Davis

          Hi 2cents- you are right. I have no idea what it’s like to give birth. I’ve only witnessed it 3 times, and it seems to me like the most difficult thing in the world. When my wife gave birth to our 2nd, she blew out the blood vessels in her eyes and face from pushing (no epidural)! But I don’t think we’re in disagreement here. It takes time to get back in the swing after hospital stays and childbirth. I’ve experienced and seen that for years within my family and congregation. And, I did not say that it’s realistic for a woman to get to church a week or so after giving birth (though I know ladies who have). In response to Scatcat, I said, “I disagree that it’s ‘very unrealistic’ for new moms to attend after a week or so of getting out of the hospital.” I am saying that I do not think that it is “very unrealistic” for a woman to attend a Sunday gathering after a week or so of being released *from the hospital.* And absolutely, new parents need lots of grace. I think that’s why it’s important for congregations to set up things like meal trains and help around their homes. My family could not have made it w/o God’s people helping out.

        • chrisleduc1

          “For you to say that it’s realistic for women to get to church “a week or so” after giving birth is a little absurd to me (a woman who has given birth).”

          God sure didn’t seem to think so. And Mary was there with Jesus as God prescribed.

          Are you suggesting God’s commandeds for His people were “absurd.” Keep in mind they were without automobiles…

          Just something to consider.

          • Emily

            chrisleduc1 I’m guessing you’re a man? I literally laughed at your comment because you have never and will never go through an experience close to giving birth- physically or emotionally. I have never commented on the cripplegate and don’t intend to make it a habit, but this comment just blew my mind and sent me over the edge a little bit, as a woman who just delivered her first baby 10 weeks ago. Show me a scripture where God gives a clear timeline for how long a new mother should wait before coming back to church. Your Leviticus passage is invalid because he was addressing the people of Israel. As for Luke 2- vs 22 says “when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses…” we are not under the law of Moses. Try again. 🙂

            Eric, I appreciate you giving people good things to think through in regards to why we miss church. However, there should be room for personal preference and conviction. You know me, and I hope you understand I say all this with nothing but respect and love for you!

          • chrisleduc1

            Hi Emily, glad you decided to comment. My comment was in reference to a quote, which I cited. The quote said that it was “absurd” to think it realistic for a woman to return to church “a week or so” after giving birth.

            My wife did it with both of our children. So its not absurd. It isnt the norm. Im not saying that. SHOULD women be back after 1 week? I am not saying that either. I’m simply saying that its not “absurd.” to think it “realistic.” Matter of fact, my co-worker’s wife was back in one week as well. Again, that doesn’t mean anyone and everyone can return that quickly, it simply means that it is far from “absurd” to think it “realistic” in certain circumstances. Nobody, except the one saying its absurd, is making blanket statements. Yes, all deliveries are different. A c-section has a much different recovery time. A long labor including, being induced..Other complications. Bleeding. Tearing. I get it. But “absurd” is just not accurate. And rather than make my point from experience, my original post cited Scripture, to which you questioned and to which I will return.

            As one commentator says in regards to Lev 12:3

            “Circumcision for the child. In the case of the birth of a male, the initial seven days of domestic seclusion was followed by the rite of circumcision. On the eighth day after birth, the mother took the child to the sanctuary where the foreskin was surgically removed (v. 3)

            Kenneth A. Mathews, Leviticus: Holy God, Holy People, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2009), 116.”

            You are free to check other commentaries on this as well. But the reality is that a woman who gave birth to a son was to travel on the 8th day to have him circumcised. Absurd?

            My comment was simply that if its absurd to think that women could leave their home and go to the place of worship a week after giving birth, then God must be commanding absurd things. Whether or not we are under the law of Moses is completely irrelevant. Either God commanded His people do something that even by today’s standards (which make things much easier) is “absurd” (and was even more difficult back then), or God did not command something absurd. Either God commanded absurd things of His people, or He didn’t. I will not start with man, and what man thinks or feels, and then use that to judge God. God is holy and righteous and good, and if He commanded His people to be at the temple on the 8th day after giving birth (which He did), then it was NOT absurd. And if it was not absurd 3500 years ago, its surely not absurd to think it reasonable today. Yes, everyone’s situation is different, but that does not make it absurd. Would you want to tell my wife that what she did is absurd? Or tell God that His commandments, which are holy and true, are absurd? Start with what God has said, and go from there.

          • Eric Davis

            Hi Emily – Yep. I am not saying, “Coming to church X amount of days after child birth = godliness,” but, rather, “I don’t think it is ‘very unrealistic’ for a woman to decide to attend church a week or so after being released from the hospital.” I know ladies who have made the decision to do so and it’s ok should they choose. Some may take longer. There are differing situations. Thanks!

  • jennifer75

    I can mostly agree with this list, but I must say as a mom who has been pregnant 12 times (6 living children,6 losses) women need time to let their bodies heal after childbirth. There are many health related things that occur as a result of rushing back into things too soon. For instance, postpartum depression is far more likely when the body hasn’t had time to rest and recover from childbirth. Also breastfeeding is far more successful when mom has had a proper recovery. Things like mastitis are a often a direct result of not taking the proper time to recover. There are many more things I could list. Not so many years ago women spent a week in the hospital to recover. Now women are pushed out after 2-3 days max. It’s important for you to encourage the young moms in your congregation to allow time to heal physically. I fear an article like this might put unnecessary pressure on a young mom. Isaiah 40 says, “He gently leads those with young.” I think both the OT and NT give us plenty of verses to encourage time to rest and heal. Maybe that’s what you mean in this article, but that’s not the way it comes across. Personally I take anywhere from 6-12 weeks to return to the church building, but I remain in the Word. I watch live streaming. I welcome members of my church to visit (especially if they come to help or bring meals!) I think I see your point with this, just be careful. You have the power to greatly influence people. Be sure that you do not push the wrong way or too hard or too soon. I noticed you said you watched your wife give birth 3 times (I’ve also had the blood vessels to burst). Let me assure you, watching is NOT THE SAME. There are no words to describe the physical exhaustion that comes after childbirth. And just because “some women do come back soon” doesn’t mean they should or has no bearing on what another woman should do. Thanks for your article. Many good points.

    • Eric Davis

      Amen, and thanks for your wisdom, Jennifer. And I’d never say that watching someone give birth is the same as actually giving birth! Sorry if I miscommunicated.

  • Christina

    Here is a thought…..let’s make church more accessible to people. We all have different situations. I am at a place in my life that regular church attendance comes pretty easy for me, even though my church is 30 minutes from home (without traffic). But everyone is not there. I understand that this post is probably not for me, but the unfortunate side effect is that it feels condemning to all of us who have ever used an excuse to miss a Sunday or two. The thing is, regular church attenders, like myself, feel guilty enough when we don’t attend without reading a post like this, and those who regularly make “excuses” not to attend probably feel judged. The issue is there seems to be no understanding of situations. For example, as I said, my commute is 30+ minutes to church and I go at least twice a week (Wednesday night rehearsal and Sunday Service) and seldom miss….now. There have been times (in the last 10 years since I have been attending this church) that I was without reliable transportation and had to miss….multiple weeks. It is not always just about sacrifice….sometimes it is a lot more….and this post seems to imply it is all about making better choices.

    I feel like there are alternatives that can help bridge this gap in what we would like to happen (regular church attendance) and what actually happens (life). Live streaming allows those who are “sick and shut in” (new moms and transportation restricted folks included) the opportunity to participate in church service until their situation changes. I have been known to live stream a service when traveling because, as much as I would like to, I cannot always schedule travel around my church service times nor can I always find an appropriate church in every area. Alternative service times is another idea that may assist people who have to work on Sunday mornings. My church has a Sunday evening service and a former church had a Tuesday night service……providing access to a larger range of people.

    I am not saying it is the church’s responsibility to ensure people attend, that is strictly an individual choice. I do think we should be careful to appear to scold people for non-attendance without looking into what accommodations can be made for challenges we know exist in our communities. Unfortunately we no longer live in a world where Sunday is the day of rest.

  • Nicki Ann

    Eric: Honest question… do you think live-streaming of services makes it easier for people to make the decision to stay home?

    • Eric Davis

      Hi Nicki – thanks for the question. I think that it can make it easier for some to stay home. However, I also think that live-stream gatherings are a blessing for people who are unable to gather, for example, shut-ins, the sick, those who just gave birth, etc. If we do live stream our gatherings, it’s probably a good idea to shepherd the flock along those lines. Thanks!

  • A Amos Love

    Hi Nicki Ann

    Thanks for the response.

    I’m familiar with Heb 13:17.
    Having been ordained, and a “church leader.” Oy Vey!!!
    We wanna-be important leaders quoted “obey your leaders” a lot. 🙁

    But, did NOT spend much time with lots of other verses…

    For me, there are lots of questions about “Today’s” use Heb 13:17…
    Especially when I began see other verses about “leaders”
    NOT talked about from the pulpit.

    In my experience… “Abusive Leaders” want you to “obey”
    But do NOT spend a lot of time with…

    Neither as being **lords over God’s heritage,**
    but being ensamples to the flock.
    1Pet 5:3 KJV

    Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;
    but in **lowliness of mind**
    let each **esteem other better than themselves.**
    Php 2:3 KJV

    **Submitting yourselves one to another** in the fear of God.
    Eph 5:21 KJV

    Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love;
    **in honour preferring one another.**
    Rom 12:10 KJV

    …they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles
    **exercise lordship** over them;
    and their great ones **exercise authority** upon them.
    But so shall it NOT be among you:… (you = **His Disciples**)
    Mark 10:42-45

    Seems Jesus is teaching **His Disciples**
    NOT to **Exercise Authority.** Yes?

    Seems opposite of how Heb 13:17, is used today. Yes?

    Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.
    Yea, **all of you** be subject **one to another,** (subject = submit)
    and be **clothed with humility:**
    for God resisteth the proud,
    and giveth **grace to the humble.**
    1Pet 5:5 KJV

    Humility – Dictionary
    Having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance:

    Do you know many, any, who Quote, “Obey your leaders…” a lot…
    Who have a modest or low estimate of their own importance?

    And Jesus has a uniques take on leaders for **His Disciples**

    “ONE”

  • A Amos Love

    Hi Matt

    The verses you mention, do mention elders .

    Do elder/overseers have to meet the 17+…
    Very tuff Qualifications in 1 Tim 3, and Titus?
    To be considered “leaders overseeing the church?”
    ——

    Also, Do elder/overseers have to meet these 10?
    Every day attributes recommended for ALL **His Disciples?**
    To be considered “leaders overseeing the church?”

    Since an elder is to be an example to the flock. Yes? 1 Pet 5:3

    Shouldn’t these 10, lived by elders, also be a good example to the flock?

    Are wanna-be elder/overseers?
    And those who call themselves elder/overseers?

    Living Examples of…

    1 – NOT lording it over “God’s heritage?” 1 Pet 5:3 KJV
    2 – Lowliness of mind? Phil 2:3 KJV
    3 – Esteeming others “better” than themselves? Phil 2:3 KJV
    4 – Submitting “One to Another?” Eph 5:21 KJV, 1 Pet 5:5 KJV
    5 – Prefering others before themselves? Rom 12:10 KJV
    6 – By love “Serve one another?” Gal 5:13 KJV
    7 – Laying down their lives for the brethren? 1 John 3:16 KJV
    8 – NOT speaking of themselves, NOT seeking their glory? Jn 7:18 KJV
    9 – NOT “Exercising Authority” like the Gentiles?” Mark 10:42-43. KJV
    10 – Being clothed with humility? 1 Pet 5:5 KJV

    10 – Humility – a modest, or low opinion of ones own importance.
    ———-

    In my experience – These 10 attributes are NOT a high priority…
    For “Today’s” elder/overseers. Yes?

    If these are scriptural attributes for **His Disciples?**
    Shouldn’t these 10 also be present, in the lives of elder/overseers?
    ———-

    If “Today’s” elder/overseer does NOT meet the 17+…
    Very, very, tuff Qualifications in 1 Tim 3 and Titus?

    If “Today’s” elder/overseer does NOT meet the 10,…
    Every day attributes recommended for ALL **His Disciples?**

    Are WE, His Sheep, His Kings and Priests, His Ekklesia, His Church…
    To consider these elder/overseers as un-qualified?

    And should WE, **His Disciples,** His Body, His Servants…
    Ask these Un-Qualified “elders” to remove themselves?

    And be a good example to the Flock?

  • chrisleduc1

    Sorry to go off topic, but what great illustrations about dealing with people who make their comment history “private.” Its almost always the same result…

  • Eric Davis

    Hi everyone – I am going to close the comments since 1) they have pretty much run their course and 2) the issues with church attendance have been addressed for the most part. Briefly: 1) In this post, I am linking the issue of prioritizing church gatherings with humble love for Christ. We prioritize being visibly and enthusiastically associated with Christ’s bride and body out of a love for Christ. When his glory and supremacy reigns in our hearts, we will be less tripped up and chafed by the many practicalities and logistics we’ve been discussing. This will not always mean we perfectly plug in. But, bottom line, it will mean we take an eager and enthusiastic approach to doing so. I’d encourage us to be more zealous to examine our hearts and work towards humble, eager involvement in Christ’s bride which he loves, than disputing logistics. I know that I need to do that.

    2) There’s been some robust discussion regarding church leadership. The issue is simple, really. Underneath, it’s about a humility that dominates the heart and has an unsuspecting approach to the way in which our perfect Lord is building his church with imperfect men. An existing qualified plurality of elders puts in place other leaders as per 1 Tim 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9, and 1 Pet 5:1-5. Humility needs to reign here all around. Scripture is clear: we are commanded by our chief shepherd to be in humble submission to a visible body of church leaders. Hebrews 13:17 could not be more clear. And, that command motivates leaders to greater labors in their love for Christ, love for the flock, and humility. Let us be more moved to pray and practice that than to, perhaps, look for loopholes, by God’s grace, for the glory of Christ. Thanks everyone!

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