I recently began attending a Bible-believing church. The pastor teaches from the KJV only and believes in the superiority of the underlying text. At first I felt welcome. Everyone was glad that someone new decided to continue going to their church. As time progressed I was baptized. I even began to bring several visitors to the church with me, one of which was subsequently baptized there. A few Sunday’s ago, the pastor before the sermon stated: If you aren’t attending the Church meetings on Wednesday evening, and Sunday evening that a blessing was being missed. He then went on to reiterate the statement of another pastor in response to this woman who always seemed to have problems and troubled him about them. Continuing, the pastor stated that this woman showed up only once a week and that he did his counseling on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night. Basically, if you have problems don’t bother me unless you are here every church service. Needless to say, there was only one group of people who only attend on Sunday morning, mine. So we as a group seemed singled out as being unfaithful to Christ. After the message, I was left holding the bag.
Now here is the problem, one of my guests is not saved, and I am uncertain about one of the others. The one who is unsaved, is afraid to ask the pastor questions about salvation and generally feels unwelcome since she can’t attend all of the meetings. The one who I am not certain about, he hasn’t said anything other than that he would love to attend other times if his work schedule would allow. My third guest is saved, but is a babe in Christ and also offended. This short message from the pastor was given right before he gave a sermon on Corinthians 10:24-33. Therefore, I am not going to trouble him with my sorrow at the passing of my grandmother, the turmoil in my family (Dad, mom, brothers, sister). I can’t ask him to marry my Fiancée and me. I guess that in a way, I do feel hurt. The comment was directed at me, and it didn’t seem loving, rather judgmental. I know that God does not want us to forsake gathering together with other believers. I know that God wants us to be faithful and trust in him. I know that every way of a man is right in his own eyes: and that the Lord pondereth the hearts and to do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. I know that we are not to be respecter of days. I know that the lord would give a blessing for attending. I know that I do not want to be foolish in this instance or unfaithful. I live off of $500 dollars a month. One half goes on rent alone. I have to tithe, utilities, maybe enough for food. The church I attend is 40 miles one way. I know that this could be construed as an excuse. I know that even though it has been a difficult year, God has blessed me because through this trial and tribulation he has given me instruction about what I am to do with my immediate future for his glory, going to the island of Dominica. Consequently, I am not going to trouble him with my sorrow at the passing of my grandmother, the present turmoil in my family (Dad, mom, brothers, and sister). I can’t ask him to marry my Fiancée and me. I guess that in a way, I do feel hurt. The comment was directed at me, and it didn’t seem loving, rather judgmental. I guess what I am saying is could you please give me guidance about how often I should attend church. How should I deal with the hurt of my guests? Thank-you for considering my situation.
You stated, “A few Sunday’s ago, the pastor before the sermon stated: If you aren’t attending the Church meetings on Wednesday evening, and Sunday evening that a blessing was being missed.”
I would not take that as a personal offense, but as a true fact. If you only came to one meal that your mother prepared for you in a day (when she prepared three for you every day), then you would be missing out on some great nourishment each day. By eating one of the daily meals that she prepared, you would be getting some nourishment (maybe enough to keep you going), but would it be enough to put on some real growth?
Hebrews 10:23-25 says, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
What “day” is approaching? The day of the Lord’s return. What Christian would say that that day does not seem close? We are told to assemble together all the more as that day approaches. I would not say that gathering together once a week is a very frequent gathering. I do not think that is honestly fulfilling that verse, if we think that the Lord’s coming is nigh.
I have found that the Christians who are really growing, are the ones who want to gather together as often as they can. Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening do not even seem to be enough for them. They want something to do every day in regard to learning about the Lord. That is where the Bible Courses that we offer have been a blessing to new Christians. It is something that they can do on the nights that we do not have church meetings. We all need to spend time with our own families, too. Doing the Bible Courses in the home, provide something that each family can do. If you would like to look at the first Bible Study Booklet, just write and ask for it. It is free.
You stated, “He then went on to reiterate the statement of another pastor in response to this woman who always seemed to have problems and troubled him about them. Continuing, the pastor stated that this woman showed up only once a week and that he did his counseling on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night. Basically, if you have problems don’t bother me unless you are here every church service. Needless to say, there was only one group of people who only attend on Sunday morning, mine.”
I agree with his basic premise, and I would not try to read more into it than he intended (which you will not know unless you talk to him about it). It is true that a lot of people’s questions and problems would be answered and solved if they attended all of the services. If you could only see this matter from the pastor’s side, you would understand. I could not tell you how many times I have preached on a passage of Scripture that contained some good counsel for a problem that someone was facing in the congregation, and that person or those persons were not there. That makes a pastor’s heart sad, because you know that the world, the flesh, or the devil has kept them away from the very thing that could have helped them.
You summarized, “Basically, if you have problems don’t bother me unless you are here every church service.”
Once again, I would not take his comments further than he really meant. It is his heart’s desire that you would come every service, but I would be careful about assuming that he is unwilling to help you with your problems if you do not attend every service.
I do not believe in extended counseling sessions, either. I believe in laying out the facts from God’s Word, and then people need to repent and obey what God clearly says. Extended counseling sessions are basically “check-up” times. That is something that Christian fellowship will do for a believer, only better. That does at least two things. Number one, it prevents a Christian from looking to one man (the pastor) too much for all his answers, and thus getting too dependent upon him, instead of God. Peter had to remind people, at times, that he was just a man. Acts 10:25,26 says, “And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.”
Number two, it allows all Christians to do the work of the ministry (they feel better and needed when they are helping others spiritually). Ephesians 4:16 says, “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which EVERY JOINT SUPPLIETH, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
The word “exhort” means “to stand beside another, and urge him/her to pursue a future course of conduct.” With that in mind, consider Hebrews 10:25 again. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” See it there? We are to be “exhorting one another.” We are to be standing beside each other, encouraging one another to keep serving the Lord.
You furthered stated, “Needless to say, there was only one group of people who only attend on Sunday morning, mine. So we as a group seemed singled out as being unfaithful to Christ. After the message, I was left holding the bag.”
If you only attend Sunday morning, how do you really know for sure who attends Sunday and Wednesday evenings? I have had people make statements to me, which showed that they also felt that I was singling them out in a message; when, in fact, that was not the case at all. It was the Holy Spirit that was convicting them, and they felt that I was just picking on them publicly. One of our men was saved some years ago, and he was just sure that the evangelist had been filled in about him, but that was not the case at all. It was the Holy Spirit causing the preaching to be just what he needed to hear, and on the second night, he got saved.
If you are on a limited income, and it is difficult to have the gas money to make it to church for all of the services, maybe someone would carpool with you. Maybe there is someone in your area who also attends church there, who would be willing to pick you up and take you to some of the services. Or maybe there is someone who would be willing to drive out and get you for one of the services a week.
Do not be easily offended. Psalm 119:165 says, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Pray for your pastor. He will make some statements that you will question. In those times, go home and search them out from the Scripture. Acts 17:11 says, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Do not be a chronic complainer, but when you do have a question about a matter, go to your pastor and ask him about it.
Remember, you now have friends watching you. You have gotten them started down the right path: getting saved, following the Lord in baptism, etc. Now you must be careful. They are watching your lead. If you get offended and drop out of church, they will probably follow your lead. Romans 14:7 says, “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.”
A good verse for you to memorize would be I Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”