When we preach or teach on church attendance, we need to be aware that not everyone is on equal footing.
The blanket statement that it’s a sin to miss worship could place an unfair burden on some brethren. For the healthy this seems simple, but for the unhealthy it takes on an entirely new perspective.
As an aside, the idea that missing worship sends us to hell isn’t productive anyway.
Teaching on attendance should be rooted in devotion rather than doom. When attendance is organic, arising out of our love for the Lord, rather than our fear of hell, we find happier and more productive Christians.
We should be in worship because we’ve chosen to put the Lord first (Matthew 6:33). As transformed Christians, we should be present to express our gratitude and devotion to the Lord and together share in our blessings (Hebrews 10:22-25).
The more we place secular activities over spiritual ones, the more danger we find ourselves in spiritually. When we regularly choose to miss worship, it’s symptomatic of larger issues.
For members who are chronically ill, attendance is a complex idea. Some are in perpetual pain and getting out in all weather, walking, driving and sitting in a pew are daunting tasks.
They risk far more to be there than others realize. If they attended when “they felt like it,” they would never be there.
Shaming them is ridiculous. Instead, we should encourage them to examine the bigger picture. They should be aware of their limitations and always consider their motivations.
Are they hesitant to go today because they are unable or are they simply taking the easy path? Is their decision going to hurt them spiritually?
The chronically ill must be brutally honest with themselves and their motivations. Pain and discomfort in this life isn’t a reason to leave the Lord and miss heaven (Revelation 21:4). The more we stay away, the more inroads we give Satan (John 8:44). Is it worth it?