Articles | "Church is Now in Session"

September 4, 2017

by Johnnie Sloan


        It is often a criticism leveled at those in political office that they do not work year round. Congress for example has a recess of over a month long. The President was recently criticized with impunity for taking five weeks of vacation during war time. Why is this behavior scorned? Is it because the average working person does not have this luxury and is envious? Is it because we do not see these people as deserving this time off because of our sad state of affairs in government? Or, is the reason for the criticism more virtuous or noble? Maybe it is that we see the issues addressed by these people as grave things. To step away from duty while there is so much needing attention seems reprehensible. In other words, how could they take time off when things are the way they are? Or when there are crucial matters that they are elected to work on.

        Now let us shift these questions to the modern day evangelical churchgoer. Is it safe to say that the average Christian misses five or more "sessions" of the eternal House of Representatives annually? By sessions is meant whenever the Church gathers (Sundays; Sunday School, both morning and evening worship, Wednesdays, Business Meetings and fellowships). If the same criteria for dutiful service were placed on the shoulders of church members, would it not be justified in saying they deserve the same criticism as the above mentioned politicians? If your congressman does not show up to session to vote on matters you elected him to represent you on, what is your reaction? The attendance and voting records of officials always come up in campaigns.

        Now turn the focus inward. Have you missed business meetings at your church? Have you missed gatherings in which things pertaining to the health of the organization were handled and your input would have been helpful?

        Would we say a political representative is qualified to speak to subjects for which he was not present to hear the pertinent information? Would someone who neglects numerous church gatherings truly be able to contribute to things such as decisions of financial nature, church discipline, staff positions and so on? Should a Republic like ours in the United States be expected to perform at a higher level than does the Church of Christ? I suggest we who are not at least as committed to our congregation as our elected officials are to their office be quite slow to criticize those who seem slack in their duties. Even further, and this is the thrust of this writing, I suggest we rethink our priorities so as to make sure we are faithful to our elected position as members of the Local Church.

        We have, in my opinion, a much greater responsibility than does the government. When Paul instructs Timothy on how to conduct himself in the house of God, it seems to echo with much more solemnity than matters of how much funding should go to certain districts for Parks and Recreation. He further tells him that a good soldier is most concerned with pleasing the One who has enlisted him. And it seems to me this is what we expect from those we elect. They are to listen to me and do what I elected them to do, right? Is the Bible silent on what we are to do as the elect of God? Do the phrases saved "unto good works", do not "neglect the assembling" together and even the simple word "Church" (called out ones - means called out and gathered together) not show clearly that we are a corporate unified group? And that the concept of individualistic Christians is foreign to Scripture. It seems ludicrous to call a bunch of scattered stones a building, does it not?

        Has the evangelical church gone on recess? Have we abandoned our posts during wartime? Has God elected us to a life of comfort or a life of service? Is the label Bond servant or Slave fitting to the type of sacrifice we render in the Church? What has been sacrificed in our lives for the Church of Christ and more specifically our local gathering? I for one will be quite slow in the future to criticize the President for a long vacation. I have been to quite a few evening Church services where it seemed like the congregation went fishing with him. The Local Church is now in session.