You want to start attending church more regularly.
Keep reading for 5 ways to get into the habit of going to church.
Maybe you attended church with your family when you were younger, but you haven’t gone for awhile.
Perhaps you have a church you attend off and on, but kids’ soccer practice and busy schedules keep you from attending more regularly. If Sundays are your family’s only day off, it becomes incredibly tempting to use that as the one day to sleep in.
Maybe you had a church where you used to attend, and for one reason or another you need to look for a new church, and you haven’t found a church where you feel comfortable.
While people will share a number of reasons for why they don’t attend church, such as they find it boring or their beliefs have changed, do you know the number one reason that people give for why they don’t attend church?
This is the number one reason given for why they don’t attend church:
I’m too busy.
With sports practices on Sundays and 24/7 shopping centers, it’s amazingly easy to let church attendance slip to the wayside.
Yep, that’s right. It’s not lack of faith, beliefs, or worship style that keep people away from church.
If you are one of those people who wants to make a change, I applaud you for recognizing that God will meet you at church and is ready to strengthen your faith and change your family for the better.
Keep reading for practical tips for how to make this change in your life.
How Much Does My Church Attendance Matter?
Sometimes we glorify church attendance and try to make it bigger and more holy than it is.
Do you need to go to church to get into heaven? No.
Going to church does not get you into heaven. Trusting in Jesus as your Savior and Redeemer is what gets you into heaven.
However — church attendance is important, so you aren’t totally off the hook.
I’ve heard people say things like, “I have my own spirituality between me and God.”
One reason for attending church is because God commands it in the Bible. Hebrews 10:25 says we are “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Second, you are missing out on the community of believers, the strengthening of hearing preaching and God’s word read aloud, receiving the blessing of sacraments (baptism and holy communion), and the blessing from the pastor at the end of each service.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
We are all missing out too, when you don’t attend church. We are called to share our gifts together, and when some members are missing, we all feel it.
A church community is like a family. I know sometimes there are hurt feelings, miscommunications, and hard situations. But there is so much good that is shared, too.
5 Ways to Get Into the Habit of Going to Church
Let’s be truthful, just like any good practice, once you get out of the habit it’s easier to stay out of the habit.
Getting back into the habit can be tough when you haven’t gone in awhile. Going back to church will take stepping out of your comfort zone.
I get this. Our family is the pastor’s family, so our situation is a bit different, but we recently moved to a new church and I know it’s not easy to step into a totally new situation with people you don’t know. It’s also not easy to go back to church when you haven’t been for awhile.
Try some of these ideas for getting back into the habit of going to church.
1.Going to church is a spiritual discipline.
Attending church regularly is a spiritual discipline.
This is part of your growth as a Christian.
Please allow me to be blunt when I say, worship doesn’t always have to be fun.
We live in a culture that says “me, me, me” and I think many of us are tired of it.
Your church and it’s worship should be God-centered, not person-centered. The goal of worship is to focus on giving glory to God, not focus on us as humans. We do hear about our relationships, how we serve in the world, and many other topics, but it all comes back to the central focus of who God is.
We worship God, the Father Almighty and our Creator, Jesus Christ, His Son and our Savior, and the Holy Ghost our comforter. Together the Trinity is three in one.
Worship should be meaningful. (There is a reason why worship is no longer in Latin!)
You should feel welcome to ask questions about any parts of worship, but it’s okay if you don’t understand everything all the time at the beginning.
It’s even okay if you are uncomfortable some of the time, especially if you haven’t been attending for awhile. Attending church will probably require stepping out of your comfort zone. Most things in life that require growth require a step out of our comfort zone. Recognize this and be okay with it. Give yourself credit for doing this difficult thing when many other people are staying at home!
If you are going into worship saying, “what’s in it for me?” or “is this going to be boring?”, pray and ask God to mold your heart.
2. Friends help.
Bring a friend. It’s always easier to go into something new when you aren’t going alone.
Attending with your family works, too.
Walking into someplace new as the brand new person is hard, especially when you are alone. Bringing someone else along is helpful so you don’t feel quite so alone, and also makes it more likely that you will keep going back.
Talk to one or two people while you are there. I know it can be hard to talk to new people. But put on your big girl or boy pants and do this.
You don’t have to meet your new best friend, but you can be friendly. Don’t sit in the back and sneak out as soon as the worship service is over. At least try to have a conversation with one person each time you attend.
3. Be accountable.
Find some way to be accountable to someone else about your church attendance.
Let someone know you are attending church. Maybe it’s your parents or another friend who regularly attend worship. I’m sure they will be super-supportive.
The simple act of writing it on your calendar makes a difference. Think of your workouts. Saying, “I need to get back to the gym one of these days” is totally different from a date written on your calendar, a gym chosen and your workout clothes laid out and ready.
Volunteer to do something at church. Start with something small. Churches are always looking for volunteers. Here are a few ideas of something small but will encourage you to stay involved:
- Be the “extra adult” in a kids’ Sunday School class.
- Collect bulletins from the pews after worship.
- Help with a community service event during the week.
- Attend a Bible study.
4. Reward yourself.
Set up some type of reward for when you’ve attended church 4 Sundays in a row.
Maybe your whole family goes out to lunch that Sunday after church. Pick up a movie on the way home or go for a long walk at the park.
I know some people might argue that a reward is cheapening the worship experience, but it doesn’t have to be true. For many years our family growing up went out to lunch after church. I know my brother and I probably looked forward to that lunch more than worship, but hey, we got up and went to church. Some people might say that wasn’t very good of us, but guess what, the Bible says God’s word is living and active. (Hebrews 4:12) The Word was still doing its work while we were in worship.
My kids love their Sunday morning doughnut after worship and are always racing out of worship to go get it. This doesn’t bother me (except when they run people over). It’s all part of the church experience and the great memories they have of fellowship together.
Worship for the sake of worship will come in time, but right now you are just getting back into the habit, and it’s okay to reward that for yourself or your family.
5. Don’t church hop.
If you are currently looking for a new church, you will need to visit several churches before you find the one that is right for you. That’s understandable at certain times in your faith journey.
Find one church community where you land. Then stay there. Do not hop from church to church. This is a sign of spiritual maturity.
Romans 10:17 tells us, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Our faith is strengthened as we attend worship, hear God’s word and grow as believers. Your life with be impacted in incredible ways. This effort is totally worth it.
Be encouraged that nothing in this life matters more than your relationship with Jesus Christ.
What other ways have you found helpful to get into the habit of attending church?