It’s Time to Get Back into Church

Church Attendees

Several recent church studies and surveys boil down to this: American churches are at about 60% of their pre-COVID on-site attendance. That means 40% of former church attendees have not returned to a relational connection with other Christians. Although 20% are watching services online, another 20% have completely separated from the congregation of believers. This has left a spiritual vacuum in the lives of millions of Americans and has inflicted a serious injury on the soul of our nation.

During the COVID lock-down, most churches cancelled gatherings of their members for several months. During this closure, congregants of larger churches had the advantage of preexisting online streaming of services. Many smaller churches quickly produced online capability for their members. Before long, faithful church members throughout the country became comfortable sitting on their couch or recliner in their pajamas with a cup of coffee watching the services. Worship leaders were singing and pastors were preaching to an empty sanctuary except for video cameras. This technology, although far from ideal, was a godsend to both church leadership and church members. But it also had a downside.

When COVID subsided somewhat, and the nation began to open its doors again, churches also began to open and regroup initially with some level of precautions involving masks and social distancing. After several weeks, most churches were back to a semblance of normal operation. What wasn’t normal was that only about half of the pews or chairs were filled. Half of the congregation was looking around wondering where the other half went. Research shows that a few are still not comfortable with indoor crowds, since the pandemic has not yet fully ended. A much greater number have grown too comfortable with watching services from their home and are still in that mode. And, the hard truth is many have simply gotten out of the habit of church, actual attendance or on TV, and can’t get motivated to return. Being an online church member or avoiding church altogether can become addictive, but it comes at a price, spiritually and socially.

The first and foremost reason for choosing physical presence at church services is that the Bible clearly and emphatically teaches it. Hebrews 10:25 reads, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as you see the day (of the Lord) approaching.” Acts 2 describes the first Christians’ commitment to the early churches, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…All believers were together and had everything in common…Praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Those Christians were not exercising their faith in private or watching services online. They were following God in establishing the model He intended for doing life together and furthering the Kingdom through the church.

Prominent pastor and author, Rick Warren, describes the five biblical purposes of the church: outreach (evangelize), worship (exalt), fellowship (encourage), discipleship (edify), and service (equip). None of those purposes, meant to grow us in our relationship with the Lord, is realized by avoiding church gatherings with the possible exception of being somewhat edified by internet. Private Bible study and prayer is necessary, but does not fulfill the need for reaching others, worshiping corporately, fellowshipping, and ministering collectively. God made us to be social creatures serving Him together, and nowhere is that better accomplished than in the church Christ established.

Furthermore, I believe the prosperity, health, and moral foundation of our country ultimately depends on God’s favor. Surely, everyone would conclude that America, the greatest nation in history, has declined in all three categories over recent years. The nation’s wandering away from God for decades became a mass exodus during COVID. The only way to reverse this potentially fatal national degeneration is to turn back to God. That can only be done through nationwide repentance and revitalization of the church. The first step toward that must be recommitment of the 40% that dropped out. They must reactivate with their church. America won’t survive with a permanent 40% decrease in church attendance.

If you are among the 40% of Christians who have not been active in your church recently, let me strongly urge you to have a conversation with God about that. Then let Him help you sort out what is keeping you away from meeting with your fellow believers on a regular basis. If you are of the 60% who are faithfully attending church as you did before COVID, let me strongly urge you to reach out to those you haven’t seen for a while and encourage them to join you at church this Sunday. It’s time for everyone to get back into church.

COVID Thriving on Mistrust of Bureaucracy

Biden, Harris, and Fauchi at vaccine commitment signing

It’s not misinformation; it’s mistrust. COVID is thriving in America because Americans don’t trust leadership from the White House, the Congress, the medical elite, and the mainstream media. And why should we? Generally speaking, the bureaucratic leadership of this nation has lied, flip-flopped, schemed, and failed to act to the point of having lost credibility with their people. Today, everything that comes down from the government, health organizations, and mainstream media is instantly rejected by most of the country. If you are wondering why people are not getting vaccinated, not wearing masks, and not avoiding large gatherings, look no further than our government and medical leaders as well as mainstream media who have proven themselves untrustworthy.

Following four years of false accusation of Russian collusion, a baseless impeachment, and Democratic intransigence, President Biden caved to the extreme left with over 60 executive orders in a matter of days. This was after a campaign centered on national unity and being bipartisan. He immediately opened our southern border, then declared it wasn’t open when illegal immigration became an out-of-control crisis and a portal for narcotics, human trafficking, and COVID. Biden has said he was arrested in South Africa, had a full law school scholarship and graduated with three degrees, his helicopter was forced down by Afghan extremists, he was a coal miner, he knew nothing about Hunter’s business dealings, he used to drive an 18-wheeler, and new voter integrity laws are “Jim Crow” voter suppression efforts–all lies. After four years of Trump’s almost weekly, highly transparent press briefings and news conferences, we now rarely see the president open to the press–everything is super secret.

Congress has responded to COVID with numerous laws and proclamations that they don’t obey themselves. Speaker Pelosi rejected the Republicans named to the January 6th Capitol incursion investigation committee because they supported Trump and would ask the hard questions. This now partisan committee was deemed essential to get to the bottom of the January 6th extreme right incident while last year’s many riots by leftist Antifa and Black Lives Matter get hardly any attention.

The CDC first announced that masks were unnecessary for COVID, then they were necessary, then required, then not needed for those vaccinated, then mandated for even those vaccinated. Dr. Fauchi assured America that COVID originated naturally, and the Wuhan lab source was a far-right conspiracy theory. Then, when the evidence became overwhelming, he decided the lab was the most likely source. Now it looks like his organization may have actually helped fund the lab. The CDC and the surgeon general now urge that small children wear masks in schools. But there is not an official word about the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who are arriving with COVID and being sent all over the country. News media are not allowed to visit the holding facilities for these international criminals.

The left-wing bias of the mainstream news media has little semblance of integrity and credibility and should now be classified as comedy and satire. The problem of misinformation is not social media; it is public television and internet news. Mainstream media is all over the January 6th incursion into the Capitol building where one person was tragically killed by a policeman following a Trump rally. Over 500 participants have been charged. Conversely, the mainstream media barely covered the many 2020 deadly riots by leftists in several major cities with burning buildings, bombings, looting, and take-over of government facilities. Twenty-five people were killed in those anarchist incidents, mostly by the guns of the rioters. America’s angst with left-leaning leadership is manifested in the tanking ratings of liberal CNN compared with conservative Fox News. Fox continues to hold the top position with 1.19 million total day viewers to CNN’s third-place 596,000–an almost two to one advantage in viewer confidence for Fox. Americans distrust liberal news about leftist leaders.

These are just minuscule samplings of the constant bombardment of lies, deceptions, and hypocrisies we are subjected to from our national leadership and media. Volumes could be written on the dishonesty of elected and appointed leaders who determine our fate daily. Then they tell us what to do in response to COVID and wonder why they are getting such push-back. If we had evidenced-based reason to trust our leaders, I believe we would have kicked COVID out of the country months ago. Skepticism and conspiracy theories are not born out of ignorance of the American people. They are born out of mistrust of leaders who have proven themselves untrustworthy.

I have been fully vaccinated and have done my share of mask wearing. I believe if everyone had done so, with their doctor’s approval, we would probably be victorious over COVID now. However, I honor and empathize with those who have chosen not to take the steps I did, and I completely support their right to choose their own health actions. However, I am also totally convinced that, if we had more integrity in our national leadership, most of those who have chosen not to follow their guidance and rules would have been much more inclined to trust and follow them. We Americans must stop the foolishness at the top. As we have witnessed, it can be a matter of life and death. We must think long and hard about who we allow to lead us and who we remove from office. We have the power at the voting booth. Remember all this in next year’s elections.

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