By Kerry Steinhofer, Copy Editor
Let’s face it, in today’s culture people talk about attending “Bedside Baptist” on Sunday mornings and simply refuse to attend church. Instead of attending church on Sunday mornings and hearing the Word of God, they are snoozing away to whatever “Pastor Pillow” has for them that morning.
In our culture, it seems completely normal not to attend church and be a part of fellowship with other Christians but instead find yourself sleeping through Sunday mornings.
Church attendance, participation and fellowship should be routine in a believer’s life. Weekly church attendance is not “required” for Christians, but someone who is part of the body of Christ should have a desire to worship God, listen to and receive His Word and fellowship with a greater community of believers.
Hebrews 10:25 says we should “not [be] giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” God’s purpose for his people is to join together and be a community. I don’t think church attendance is something that is thrown around and suggested. I fully believe this is what God wants us to do as His followers.
1 John 1:3 says, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” When you become a Christian, you enter into a fellowship, not just with God, but with other believers too.
Why is it such an important part of our Christianity to attend church? Associate Dean for Campus Ministries and Campus Chaplain Greg Haseloff says, “This question might give rise to a more serious question: Can a person be a Christian without the church?”
Haseloff further explained that several aspects of Christianity or Western faith makes the question about the importance of church unique to our culture, because we are tempted to imagine our faith apart from the church.
Even though it is possible for a Christian to live as a Christian in isolation without the body of believers, it is not something I would advise.
From an Asbury perspective, I feel there are students who think just because they attend a Christian institution that it is simply OK to not attend a church during the duration of their education.
“I feel that the reason why students think they don’t have to attend a church is because we are required a certain amount of theology classes, we attend chapel three times a week and there are weekly spiritual events held on campus,” said senior Kortnie Walters. “For some students, these things are considered ‘church’, and they don’t see a need to reach out to another faith community outside of Asbury.”
“The church is a place to worship God in a context of community,” said Communications professor, Dr. Jim Shores.
A family is by its very nature inter-dependent. What it means to be a part of a local church is that you’re inter-dependent with other people in your church. We are the “family of God.” Ephesians 2:19 says, “So now you are no longer strangers and aliens. Rather, you are fellow citizens with God’s people, and you belong to God’s household.” As a body of Christ gathered in the church, we are able to do so much more than any one person could do on their own.
“It’s been hard for me to find a good church community while at Asbury, so I’ve been doing a lot of church hopping,” said Walters. “I go to church now because I am trying to seek out a good faith community outside of Asbury.”
“I need the body of believers in my life,” said Assistant Director for Campus Ministries Jeannie Banter. “We were meant for community and I learned the hard way I cannot walk this journey alone. The church helps point me to Jesus, encourages me and keeps me accountable in my daily walk.”
The church uniquely possesses the message of grace,” said Haseloff. “No other entity, person or institution holds the responsibility declaring God’s grace as declared through Scripture — the truth of God. In church, I’m able to sing of this reality, hear this preached and taught from new angles every week and join in opportunities to serve the world in ways that testify to the living love of Christ.”
We may be able to understand the role of church and the importance of our attendance, but we need a deeper desire and longing to be a part of a greater community of believers. Christianity is not going to fall a part, if we as believers, do not attend church. However, we as Christians may fall a part if we don’t have a greater community of believers surrounding us and pouring into us. We are one body.
“For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12).