There seems to be an emphasis these days within the Christian City Church movement on the importance of being in church every week, as some kind of duty that you owe the rest of the church body, and as part of being a ‘good’ Christian.
If you don’t make it every week, you are not committed enough. You can’t access God’s Presence as fully anywhere else. Particularly if you are a leader, you should be there each week as an example to others. Now, on Phil Pringle’s blog, using Psalm 92:13, he promises that if you do this, God will cause your whole life to flourish.
Ps 92:13 KJV
13Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.
14They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;
The post is Phil Pringle’s “Easter” blog message. In it, he stresses the importance of being planted in the ‘house of God’, not just attending church, and urges people to use Easter as an opportunity to recommit to coming to church every week. Ps Pringle says that a lifelong commitment to “the priority of being in the House of God will make us fruitful all our days”. Google his blog, and read it for yourself. (Mmm… I thought this was quite an original angle on the importance of Easter.)
My local CCC discourages members from going away for the weekend together, unless they can make it back in time for church on Sunday. They don’t discourage people from taking normal family holidays, but do discourage groups from the church going on weekends away together resulting in missing church completely. Leaders in particular are discouraged from making these arrangements. (I’ve been told that applied at CCCOF too). Time away that skips a church service is seen by the local CCC leadership as ‘social’, not ‘holy to God’ like time in church, even if it is a prayer retreat or fellowship for a home group, and these relationship building things are not as vital as attending church each weekend, even if its just once or twice a year that a group from church goes away.
My local church took it one step further, even preaching once that part of holiness was getting to church on time. (Not sure where that is in scripture, but anyway, there it was.) One person wanting to serve in a ministry (which ironically would prevent them from attending many services) was told to take ‘baby steps’ first – the first one being to attend on time. This was a challenge for that person, for family reasons, and had nothing to do with their ministry effectiveness.
Reading Ps Pringle’s latest blog seems to me to show that this view on weekly attendance wasn’t unique to my local church, but is taught as doctrine within the movement. (Although perhaps not the emphasis on being on time?) If you are not attending church each week, you are not thoroughly abiding in God, it seems.
Well, I’ve heard that one preached before. Obviously I don’t see church attendance as ‘abiding in God’ – I hope I abide in God every day, not just for an hour on a Sunday. What I hadn’t heard before was that attending church weekly would cause your whole life to flourish!
I don’t know if this is taught at Hillsong, but I’d be interested to know how widespread it is, or is it a CCC specialty?