by Ken Gardner

A congregation in our area voted not to have worship services last Sunday. Three-fourths of the members of this congre-gation decided it would be best if the church did not have Bible classes and worship services. After all, it was a holiday week-end, and everyone would busy with other things, and few would have time to pray, and to commemorate Christ’s death on the cross by partaking of the Lord’s Supper, much less to sing, and study God’s word, and contribute financially to the work of the church.

They didn’t actually vote not to have services. All the members wanted the congregation to have services, but most of the members would not be there. Some were out of town, of course, and no doubt many of those traveling worshipped with congregations where they were. But many of members were too busy to worship God—busy with holiday activities, or recovering from holiday activities. They could have set a good example for their families by worshipping on the Lord’s Day, going ahead and attending services whether their families went with them or not. That would have been a wonderful thing, for both them and their families. But they really didn’t give much thought to that.

Yes, they wanted the church to have services, for the one-fourth of the members who would attend, and for the visitors who would show up. And visitors did show up. It seemed almost half of those present were visitors. The preacher wondered what the visitors must have thought, attending services and finding the church building nearly empty, with only one fourth of the members present. They might well have thought, “This church must be dying, they hardly have any members. They certainly don’t have many dedicated members.”

The preacher also wondered if the members who decided they had better things to do than wor-ship God realized that people would notice they were absent. The preacher certainly noticed. He knew the names of every single member who was absent. Yes, he knew several were out of town, and he knew some of them were worshipping at congregations where they were. But he knew that many had just decided not to worship. And he could not have been more disappointed in each and every one of them.

Yes, this is exactly what happened at a congregation here in our area last Sunday.

You might even know the name of this congregation.