Church attendance a poor indicator

A recent CNN article listed 10 exercise myths that won’t go away. One of those listed was:

Myth #10 – Your cardio machine is counting the calories you’re burning.

“It doesn’t mean anything,” said Mark Macdonald, personal trainer and author of “Body Confidence” about the calorie numbers spit out by the cardio machine.

Some machines don’t even ask for your weight or gender.

“It’s not asking your body composition,” he said. “If you’re at 18% body fat, you’re going to burn a lot more than if you’re a female at 35% body fat.”

And how many people know their body fat percentage? The number calculated by your machine is likely not accurate. It is an arbitrary number that gives us the illusion of how much progress we are making.

The same thing can happen with church attendance. The body of Christ – the church – is God’s design and serves many essential purposes; but being an indicator of our spiritual progress is NOT one of them.

You and I know lots of people who have attended church services for years and years but don’t do life any differently than before they attended church. Gathering with others is important as we join to celebrate God, encourage one another and learn from His word. But attendance alone does not equal spiritual progress.

Spiritual progress – living and loving more and more like Jesus – happens as we pursue greater intimacy with the Lord and live it out with our neighbors. A better indicator of our spiritual progress is based on Jesus’ greatest commandment in Matthew 22.

Do we have an increasing capacity for loving God and others?


Filed under Christianity, intimacy with the Lord, Loving God, Loving others, Morphing

7 responses to “Church attendance a poor indicator

  1. Elisa Michelle

    I really love this comparison. Over the years, I’ve seen all sorts of hypocritical acts in church-going Christians, people who claimed they were intimate with God on a level I apparently could never understand. It made me feel God was out of my reach, that I was unworthy. It makes me feel happy someone else can see that going to church doesn’t equal spiritual closeness to God.

    • Hey Elisa. Glad you enjoyed my blog and thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed checking out your blog – good stuff. Best of luck with the writing!

      • Elisa Michelle

        Thanks! And I definitely need to check back at your blog more often. I find it reassuring other Christians don’t see church as the end-all way to Christ (as in that’s all they have to do and they’re done for the rest of the week).

  2. This made me think of the passage in James 2 where we read: “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?”
    I’ve been a regular church attender for years now. At this stage in my journey I simply cannot miss church, not because it’s something to fill my time with on Sunday, but because I can’t avoid the teaching, worship and fellowship that goes along with church attendance.
    Years ago my pastor once challenged us at the outset of the new year to end that year more holy than we began the year. That’s been my goal ever since.
    Thanks Rick for these tremendous nuggets of truth and encouragement.

    • You’re welcome Todd and great passage. I very much like your pastors challenge to end the year more holy than what you began. And thanks for sharing the journey!

  3. Pingback: Church is not something we do, it’s what we’re called to be | PointMan

  4. Pingback: Indicators | End Times Prophecy Report

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