People today have the mistaken notion that church attendance is optional. If I cannot attend, they think, I really haven’t missed much. Church has become one of many activities in a crowded calendar rather than a priority that must not be missed.
This is one of the reasons why I blog my sermons and post pictures of church activities shortly after they occur. I want to create a buzz that people missed something exciting. I want to create an atmosphere of “You should have been there” and “That was one of the best events” and “I’ve never heard anything like that.”
Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones brings out that same idea in his book, Preaching and Preachers. In his chapter, “The character of the message,” he states,
This to me is of the very essence of the whole problem of the Church today. What do we say to such people? We must convince them of the importance of being present at every service of the church. Every service! Why? The first answer—and I have often used this argument and people have come to see it—is that if they are not present at every service they may well find one day they were not present when something really remarkable took place.
This raises again the whole question of, What is preaching? I am referring once more to what I have called its essence, the power of the Spirit. I shall develop this further later. This is the all-important element that we must recapture in connection with our church services, the idea that you never know what is going to happen. If the preacher always knows exactly what is going to happen, in my view he should not be in a pulpit at all. The whole glory of the ministry is that you do not know what may happen. In a lecture you know what is happening, you are in control; but that is not the case when you are preaching. Suddenly, unexpectedly, this other element may break into a service—the touch of the power of the Spirit of God. It is the most glorious thing that can ever happen to any individual or company of people. So I say to these “once-ers”, if you do not come to every service you may live to find a day when people will tell you of an amazing occurrence in a service on a Sunday night or on a Sunday morning—and you were not there, you missed it. In other words we should create this spirit of expectation in the people and show them the danger of missing some wonderful “times of refreshing…from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).