The day after the inauguration, Onision (Gregory Jackson), a popular YouTube videomaker, started the hashtag #ImNotGoingtoChurchBecause on Twitter. The hashtag quickly became viral, trending as the third most popular hashtag on Twitter for January 22nd. Several people responded saying they did not go to church because of their disapproval for religious politicians who use faith to manipulate others. Some voiced their disappointment with the church due to pain they had personally experienced by religious people. Still others told why they do go to church. Most of the criticism that followed this hashtag came from skeptics with cynicism towards religion. Reasons for not attending church included but were not limited to abuse or sex scandals within church leadership, judgmental attitudes from religious folks, exclusion of LGBT community, lack of dialogue and critical thinking, promoting the prosperity gospel, general busyness and genuine disbelief in God.
America is still religious
This recent hashtag conversation may lead people to think church is irrelevant, but there are many who consider it essential. Even though church attendance has declined in our country over the past 30 years, America remains a devout nation. According to the Association of Religion Data, four in 10 Americans claim to attend church weekly, meaning more than 138 million Americans — or 44 percent of the population — belong to a congregation. Approximately 73 percent of Americans identify as Christian, agreeing that religious faith is important: 52 percent strongly agree and 21 percent somewhat agree, according to the Barna Research Group.
The relevance of church
While it’s true we don’t need to attend church in order to have faith, the Bible teaches church is a vital part of Christian growth. As part of a church we are loved, encouraged and even challenged by other believers. Church is also a place of refuge. Setting aside time for church is a big step toward making God a priority in our lives. As Christians, the church is vital and relevant to our faith development. We are not meant to live isolated from other believers. We are called to serve others as one body in Christ.
Question of the day: Why don’t people go to church?
Focal scriptures: Acts 2:42-47; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; Hebrews 10:19-25
For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.