The number of people who attend church on a regular basis has dropped considerably since the 1950’s. There are many factors impacting attendance rates and we are going to take a closer look at these items.
Lack of Social Pressure
In the past, everyone in the community would attend church. This high attendance rate by the entire community placed a significant amount of pressure on people to attend, if you did not attend church it could lead to a negative impression which may lead to other social consequences. Prior to the proliferation of the Internet and modern technology, the majority of people worked where they lived. If your boss and colleagues all went to church and you did not show up without a really valid reason, you could find yourself in trouble with your boss. This social pressure started to reduce in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
On Sunday morning there was nothing to do except go to church, there was nothing on television and all stores were closed. This lack of alternative forms of entertainment forced people to sit in front of church pulpits because they had no other options available to them. With the development of television, radio, and driving those individuals who did not want to go to church could find some other ways to pass their time.
7 Day Work Week
Sunday was considered the Lord’s Day and the majority of people did not work on that day. With the modern economy, people are expected to work 7 days a week and that includes Sunday. It started with the retail sector staying open because people were off on Sunday and looking for something to do. Businesses realized they could get more productivity from people by having them work on weekends. Individuals who were having tough times economically would forego church to work overtime or moonlight on the weekend which prevented them from going to church.
Lack of Moral Values
The sermons coming from most church pulpits have evolved to reflect the current social condition. There has been a significant breakdown in moral values and society as a whole. A few generations ago, it was considered a mortal sin to have children out of wedlock however, it has become very common for couples to stay together and have children without marriage. Along with the loss of family values, there has been a substantial increase in the number of people who are using illicit and legal drugs. People who are addicted to drugs are not able to attend church service, their addiction takes over ever facet of his/her life.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
While the church has experienced a significant reduction in the number of people who are attending Sunday service. There are efforts being made at a grassroots level to try and engage the public. By highlighting the benefits of attending church, a portion of the population may feel inclined to go back to a more traditional way of life similar to that of their ancestors.
For many Christians, a trip to Jerusalem can be an amazing experience. It is something that will help you to get a great understanding of the history of your religion and will allow you to walk on the same ground that Christ himself walked on. Of course, part of that history is the different churches that are located in the Christian quarter of the old city, and these are buildings that every Christian ought to get a chance to visit at some point in their lives.
One of the greatest churches I have ever seen is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is located in Jerusalem. This church was built on the 13 of September in 335 AD, and it is still standing and in very good shape. According to Christian history and tradition, this is the church that actually has two of the most important historical sites of Christianity. First, this church is located at Calvary, which is where Jesus was crucified. It is also widely believed that this is the church that also holds Christ’s empty tomb. For those of us who care deeply about the roots and history of our religion, this is definitely something that ought to be visited at least once.
Because this is such an old church, it does have some of the amazingly beautiful architecture that is often associated with old churches. Newer churches simply do not have the same sorts of designs and architecture that the older churches have, and they tend to be a little bit bland in their appearance. This particular church is absolutely beautiful, and I can’t think of a better structure to be placed upon the site where Jesus was crucified and then resurrected.
There is an amazing feeling you get when visiting this historic site, and so I definitely suggest that everyone with a passion for the love of Christ visits it at least once.
The Gospel of Matthew was likely written between 80 and 100 AD. Until recent times, the authorship has been attributed to the apostle Matthew; but the Gospel never explicitly states who the author is. The primary argument against Matthew’s authorship is that he uses a lot of material from John Mark, who was a Gentile, and if the book were written by a Jewish author, that wouldn’t have happened.
No matter who the author is, the audience is fairly clear. It was most likely written to a Jewish audience. There is an emphasis on the Jewish Law, traditions, and Jesus’s interactions with the Pharisees and Sadducees. Much of the book consists of quotes from the Torah and the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled.
One of the biggest retorts that the Jewish leaders of the day had against Jesus is that He didn’t save them from Roman rule, because they thought they were getting a political savior. Jesus puts a lot of emphasis on Jesus saving people from their sins and His love for the least instead of the greatest, which would have been a big deal in “proving” that He was the Messiah and Savior in some way.
Overall, the purpose of the Gospel of Matthew is to prove that Jesus is Messiah and that Christ has authority over all of the nations. Because of that, many churches have decided to utilize this Scripture in a number of ways, including the telling of the Christmas story, sharing how Christ would work among people, and to show how much of a difference we can make in the world that we live in.