Question:

Question

Answer:

I'm a member of the church have been all my life. I was wondering how important you think Wednesday night services are? Some people don't think you have to go on Wednesday night, some say when the Bible says not to forsake the assembly it means Sunday morning. I believe it's a direct command to be there every time the doors are open, if at all possible. Do you think we will be held accountable if we don't attend on Wednesday night?


We have to first remember that there is no command requiring that a congregation hold a Bible study on Wednesday night. Churches are to teach its members, which is implied in Ephesians 4:11 when we are told that one of the roles in the church is that of a teacher. However, the method of instruction and the time of instruction is not defined. By tradition churches have held Bible studies on Wednesday nights. It is not a bad tradition, in fact I think it is a very useful one, but we must not elevate an expedience to fulfilling God's command to teach to the level of a command in and of itself.

Different congregations will select different methods to fulfill the commands that God has given. For example, I know of congregations who choose to meet once on Sunday. Generally because their members drive long distances or they are in the middle of dairy country where multiple services on one day is rough for the farmers. I know some who meet twice on Sunday, but Sunday night's gather is for Bible study. I know of a congregation that holds Bible studies nearly every night of the week. They ask their members to attend at least one (different topics are offered each night). All of these methods fulfill the command to the church to teach its members.

So let's turn the question around a bit. When a congregation decides to offer instruction to its members on week night in order to fulfill it's duty to teach its members, do the members get to treat that time as optional? Doesn't it seem strange that a church would have a requirement to teach its members, but the members can treat that instruction as optional?

I've noticed over the years that lack of attendance is a symptom of serious problems in a person's life. You rarely find a strong Christian missing any opportunity to gather with fellow Christians, but you usually find weak Christians absent. The passage in Hebrews tells us why, "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:23-25). Strong Christians understand the need for encouragement. They won't let an opportunity pass them by to get and receive it. Weak Christians waver in their hope because they aren't being strengthen by being with their brethren. They lack the zeal necessary to finish the race.

Consider the early Christians. "Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. ... So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart" (Acts 2:41-42, 46). How often did the early Christians get together with their brethren? How often do we? Who, then, displays a stronger faith and love for God?

But therein lies the core of the problem. People are skipping out on opportunities to learn about God and to be with His people. It is an attitude problem. If the attitude was fixed, the lack of attendance would not be nearly so bad. It is here that I think most of us miss the solution. We focus on the physical thing that we can see -- not showing up at Bible study -- and completely miss the problem that needs to be fixed. There is a spiritual problem because love has gone cold. What is needed is someone to fan the flames. Someone to get people excite about being a Christian.

Some of it is the church's fault. I've visited a number of congregations whose idea of Bible class is the most boring learning experience I have ever seen. People come out of shear stubbornness and not because they know they will receive benefits from being there that day. I've seen others, usually involving young people, where the gather is nothing but fun and games. No Bible is taught. God's word is only mentioned in vague terms. And again, people leave without receiving benefits for being there. Churches need to get back to their duties. They exist as avenues for people to gather and worship God and to teach God's people. "I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (I Timothy 3:15). The church exists to hold up the truth to the world and to support it by the behavior of its members.

Do I think that people won't make it to heaven because they don't attend Bible studies? No. I think that people who don't attend Bible studies won't make it to heaven because they don't love being a child of God.


See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Bible Classes