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Encourage: Acknowledging attendance

I took a leisurely stroll to the park recently. The pace was set by George, my two-year-old grandson, who held my finger when he was so inclined. It was the best hour I have spent in a long while.

From time to time, something would catch George’s attention—a puddle, a pile of leaves, the cracks in the sidewalk, dirt of any sort. An army of ants captured his attention for a full five minutes (Impressive, for a two-year-old boy).

The ants were marching out of the ground in a perfect line and consuming a rotten apple core. Little George let go of my finger, squatted down like only a two-year-old can, and bent his neck toward the ground to carefully examine this phenomenon.

Consider the word: Attendance.

Attendance is the act of attending. To attend is to be present, to take care of, to pay attention. Our English word, “attend,” comes from the Latin, “to bend to, to notice.”

The opposite of attendance is absence or neglect. When we do not attend, we declare something to be not worth our time and concern, not worth “paying” attention.

Church attendance matters.

I have spent a substantial amount of time studying the church at Antioch in the Book of Acts. This is the model mother church. Attendance is a repeated theme in Luke’s account of this great church. Over and over he observes the amount of time they spent together in the Scriptures.

They were always gathering together to fellowship, to testify, and to hear the teaching and preaching of God’s Word (Acts 11:19-26; 14:27-28; 15:30-36; 18:22-23). It turns out that discipleship shares something in common with most other arenas of our lives—showing up matters!

Worship of the One True God, fellowship with the people of God, and the study of the Word of God deserves our attendance—our full, consistent and conscientious attention.

I believe that the Bible teaches us that our churches would be healthier and better able to advance the Gospel if our attendance improved. Could you improve your attendance? More and more of us have slipped from weekly to monthly attendance. Let’s work together to increase weekly attendance 20 percent by 2025!

“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. 10:24-25).

Hance Dilbeck

Author: Hance Dilbeck

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