Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Church Attendance, Tithing, and Other Basics

When I first became a Christian there were some things my church taught me right up front about the Christian life. They didn't wait three years, two years, or even one year to get me started on a strong diet. They weaned me off of milk pretty quick. I was taught that God expects me to be at church each Sunday, that I must honor Him by brining the tithe and offerings, and that I should find a place to volunteer…. not to mention read my Bible, pray, put God first, join a Bible study, and grow up.

But things have changed since then. Some people feel like they belong to a church if they show up once about every four of five weeks! When it comes to giving, tithing is out of the question; a tip is more likely. And volunteerism is considered to be extra credit.

I don’t get it.

On the other hand, I think I do. People do what is important to them. It’s not a matter of whether or not people will commit themselves to something – it’s a matter of WHAT people commit themselves to. Quite frankly, a lot of peole are more committed to matters of self-indulgence than they are to God and a sincere pursuit of godliness. As a result God gets their leftovers. They are "spare time" Christians. Moonlighters. Not good.

I’m fully committed to these basic principles of Christian living. But these convictions are not borne out of being a preacher; they were forged in the early days of my Christianity before I ever knew I was going to be a pastor. My church simply told me up front that there were some things that God expected of me, and I didn’t argue about it. I conformed.

.... This is a heart issue, not a time issue.

.... Giving is not a matter of wealth. It’s a matter of willingness.

.... Jesus rose from the grave, but some people can’t get out of bed.

A church is guaranteed to fail if the pastor and other senior leadership are not willing to CALL PEOPLE to COMMITMENT. The last thing any church needs is a congregation made up of people who are more committed to shopping and their favorite TV program than they are to God. People must be challenged to volunteer, to read their Bibles, to be at church every Sunday, to pray and tithe. They must grow up. Otherwise we will raise up nothing more than a group of co-dependent people who never get off the pacifier and wil perpetually depend upon others more than they do God.

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