News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 30, 2013

THE JOY LADY: Our attendance in worship services encourages other worshippers

Verna Davis
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — There are all kinds of church attendees. Some attend church services once or twice a month, some once or twice a year. Some attend only Sunday morning worship. Some attend Sunday school and worship. Some attend Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday evening, and any other time the church doors are open. Then there are some who are still on the membership rolls but have never attended a worship service in years. And sadly, there are some whose attitude towards church attendance is more casual than their attitudes towards attendance at the various clubs and organizations to which they belong.

I belong to a friendship sorority. My local chapter meets once a month for our business meeting. The recording secretary takes attendance at each business meeting by calling out the names of all the active members. We have to answer at the calling of our names. After a certain number of unexcused absences, our standing is changed from “active member” to “inactive member.” I know there are reasons for this, but I also know that the more who attend, the more fun we have, the more our love for each other grows, and the more meaning for our service projects.

Doesn’t it work that way in church, too? Hebrews 10:25 says it like this: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as we see the Day approaching.” Just as our attendance in our clubs and organizations encourages other members, our attendance in worship services encourages other worshippers.    

(Hmmm….makes me wonder. What would happen if attendance were taken at church each week? What would we do if our name was called out loud before each worship service took place? Would our absence be determined excused or unexcused? Now, don’t get angry or stop reading this column. It was just a thought.)

There’s something else about my friendship sorority. Like most clubs and organizations, we have a pledge that we recite together before our meetings. Among other things, we pledge to our loyalty to our sisters, to be considerate of a sister’s feelings and to place her first and ourselves second. We pledge to help our sisters in times of need and weakness, to protect the good name and reputation of our sisters. We pledge to never say anything—or permit anything to be said in our presence—that would harm our sisters.

I cry (as in real tears) every time I say that pledge because of this one burning question: What would happen in our churches if we were required to make that pledge to each other every time we meet together, if we had to recite those words before we began our worship services? I wonder, would our worship be different? Would our treatment of each other be different? Would our attendance be better if we made this promise to others in attendance?

Now, don’t get angry…it was just a thought.

But it’s thought-provoking, don’t you think?

Verna Davis, speaker and writer, maybe reached at vrdspeaks@yahoo.com.