July 24, 2021

Pastoral Nuggets: Optional church attendance and Christianity

In my opinion, one of the greatest problems facing the church and America today is the fact that attendance has become optional.

I was raised in Bill & Betty McCollough’s home. This meant that church attendance was not optional.

In fact, the only option associated with it was whupped or non-whupped. But let there be no mistake – you were going – like it or not!

I have come to appreciate the fact that if you are continually exposed to something, whatever it is – good or bad – it will have an effect on you. And yes, this includes the truths, principles, and morals taught by the church.

And while I despised being made to attend church for the first sixteen to seventeen years of my life, when God saved my soul and called me to preach His gospel, I suddenly became very appreciative of all those years I was forced to sit under good sound Biblical teaching and preaching.

This gave me the doctrinal/Biblical foundation, regarding my faith in Jesus Christ, that has lasted/will last me for a lifetime.

The reason I say that making church attendance optional is one of the greatest problems facing the church and America today, is because it opens the door for so many other things to become optional – that do not need to become optional.

In life, everything is interwoven. Nothing really stands alone.

Therefore, when parents allow their children to opt out of church, they are unknowingly setting the stage for them to opt out of many other things!  “No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.” John Donne’s Devotions (1624)

When a child is allowed to opt out of attending church, there are teachings they do not hear.

Consequently, they are devoid of the Spiritual moorings and the commonsense tools they need to make correct decisions in life. (Pause and reread those last two sentences!)

Today, many couples no longer bother to get married. And many young ladies become pregnant out of wedlock.

The term, “husband” has been replaced with, “Baby Daddy” and, “wife” has been replaced with, “Baby Momma.”

Sadly, many pregnant mothers opt out of having their baby because they have not been exposed to the truth that the baby is “a life” instead of “a fetus,” or “a choice,” or “a woman’s right to choose.”

And courts and prisons are filled with young men trying to shirk their responsibility of paying child support for their child. Why? Because they have not been exposed to teachings and discipline that instruct them how to make the right decisions in life and to accept responsibility for their actions, good or bad!

And the Good Lord knows I could go on, and on, and on citing examples of what happens when we parents make church attendance optional for our children.

I could speak of addictions, disrespect for authority, a lack of manners and common courtesy, divorce, gangs, the lack of self-respect, the lack of morals, and a thousand other things.

So, am I telling you that if you will simply raise your child in church, in the fear and admonition of the Lord, that everything will be smooth sailing for your children? No! Absolutely not!

But I am saying that you certainly put the odds more in your favor by doing so!

I close the column today with an honest observation: I am convinced that many of the problems we face today in both the home and society at large, could have been avoided simply by parents taking their children to church!

After all, Proverbs 22:6(KJV) is still in the Bible, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

I think it is time we parents stop modeling Optional Church Attendance and Christianity before our children!

Seems as though I remember something in the Bible about, “… as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”

Brother Aaron  

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