Summary: A call to be faithful in attending the gathering of the church, and a commitment to contact those who are missing.

A. Let me begin with a few stories.

1. The story is told of three preachers who got together for coffee one day and found out that all of them faced the same problem with bat-infestations in their church buildings.

a. One of them sad, “I got mad and took a shotgun and fired at them. I missed the bats and it put a hole in the roof. I don’t suggest that approach.”

b. The second said, “I caught the bats in traps and drove them 50 miles away and released them. Unfortunately, they beat me back to the church building.”

c. The third one said, “I solved my bat problem. I simply baptized them and made them deacons. I haven’t seen them since.”

2. On another Sunday morning, two men were fishing and feeling pretty guilty for skipping church, especially since the fish weren’t biting.

a. One said to the other, “I guess I should have stayed home and gone to church.”

b. The other man replied, “Maybe so, but I couldn’t have gone to church anyway…my wife is sick in bed.”

3. During a very long church service, in the middle of a long-winded sermon, a small child was overheard whispering to his mother, “Mommy, are you sure this is the only way we can get to heaven?”

B. Today I want us to talk about being faithful in attendance.

1. I really should begin by commending you for being here today.

2. In some respects, I’m preaching to the choir, so to speak.

3. But as you will see, this lesson is really for all of us.

C. I really want to be frank today, but I don’t want to be negative.

1. I do believe we have a problem, and I think you will agree with me about that, but I think we can see it as an opportunity for positive action.

2. So, before we discuss positive solutions, let’s take a look at the numbers.

D. First of all, let me state that I’m thankful that we have an average attendance of about 200.

1. Many churches wish that they had that many people present on Sunday mornings.

2. So, that’s the upside. We have 200 of us who consistently gather for worship.

E. The downside, however, is that on average there are about 115 of our people missing.

1. Looking at our figures from the 4 weeks in September, we had a total of 87 family units who missed at least one Sunday.

2. On average we have 55 family units who miss our Sunday morning gathering every week.

3. 34 of the 87 family units that missed in September, missed all four Sundays. A number of those family units have not been with us for months, and some may be lost to us permanently.

4. 8 of the 87 family units missed 3 out of the 4 weeks.

5. 16 of the 87 missed 2 out of the 4 weeks.

6. And 29 of the 87 family units missed 1 out of the four weeks.

F. So, in summary, one third of those who missed during September missed only one week.

1. A little less than a third who missed in September missed 2 or 3 of the weeks.

2. And a little more than a third of those who missed in September missed all 4 weeks.

3. Overall, what this means is that we have a lot of missing going on.

G. I don’t want to spend much time trying to analyze all of the reasons that people may be missing so much.

1. Certainly there are some good and legitimate reasons why people might be missing from the gathering of the church (things like illness, travel, family complications or work might fall into this category).

2. And certainly there are some wrong or inappropriate reasons why people might be missing from the gathering of the church.

H. What I would like to remind us of today is the Scriptural and spiritual mandate for gathering with the church.

1. Our passage from Acts 2 gives us a beautiful snapshot of the experience of the early church and stands as a wonderful example for Christians for all times.

2. Look at the passage again: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

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