Cheryl is a licensed, ordained minister and has a BA in Psychology and Church ministry.
Just the facts
A great injustice has been done for close to 2000 years regarding the body of Christ. During this time frame, Christians have been taught that they must ”go to church.” This is because around 323 AD the emperor Constantine set up the first organized buildings for church services. This was done for political reasons and not a command from God. Quite the contrary. The Bible tells the New Testament believers that His Holy Spirit lives inside of them. They are the temple and not buildings. The first believers in Christ met in homes and did not have any type of religious services. There are benefits to belonging to a church but the main thing for Christians is to be a part of Christ's household of faith (Galatians 10:25) and to have their names written in His book of life. (Revelation 21:27)
I Corinthians 3:16 asks? Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
Acts 7:48 King James Bible
Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
King James Bible
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands.
Many preachers teach, based on Hebrews 10:25 that God has commanded that believers assemble together in church buildings, The scripture, however, reads: "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".
At the time the Apostle Paul wrote this he was addressing the Hebrew believers of that day and there were no organized churches. Therefore he could not have been referring to the structures where modern-day Christians hold services. There are also theologians who say Paul was not talking about gathering together but referring to not forsaking the belief in Christ's second coming when all saints will be gathered. There is nothing wrong with attending church services, but if you tell someone they have to "got to church" you are in error based on scripture. I understand that this has been taught and many of us believed all our lives but scripture itself indicates that it is not accurate. These are the facts based on the Bible and aging Christ-followers need to know this. Now that the coronavirus has altered our lifestyles, this is more necessary than ever.
Don't make older saints feel bad
As people age, there are different things that can impede their church attendance. Being a shut-in, living in a nursing home, confined to a hospital, loss of mobility or the loss of transportation can all have a lasting effect. These older churchgoers are probably feeling bad all on their own because they have been used to attending services on a regular basis. It's wrong to make them feel worse by telling them they must find a way to get to church. Thank God for family and friends who assist older Christians who do desire and get them to church. Praise the Lord for churches that have vans and buses. Not everyone, however, can step up on a van or bus, and some may not be able to ride comfortably in a vehicle or sit long periods in uncomfortable pews or seats.
If older Christians want to attend weekly services then, by all means, help them get there. For those who simply cannot attend, they first need to understand that it is not a requirement from heaven and learn to deal with the situation they are in. Once they get over that feeling that they are not pleasing the Lord because they cannot "go to church" they will enjoy other options.
Options for those who cannot get to church
Many churches have pastor, deacons and or deaconess who visit the shut in and take them communion. My grandmother attended the same church all of her life and was very active. After my mother died in 2003, grandma's health began to decline and she stopped going to church. For whatever reason, her pastor did not visit her and bring communion as he did other homebound members, but the church clerk, who was our cousin looked out for my grandma. Whenever the church had a gathering where food was served, this cousin brought some to my grandma. She brought her flowers and balloons on Mother's Day and a large box of food at Christmas. Whatever other seniors got from the church, so did my grandma.
Other church members called her on a regular basis and kept her up on what was going on. A young man who graduated high school with me was a pastor in a neighboring county, but he and one of his deacons visited my grandmother several times before she passed away. She enjoyed watching The Gaither singers on television several times a week and she read her own Bible. My family members prayed with her and talked about what was going on in our own church. Instead of trying to figure out how to get an immobile senior to the building, go visit them and fulfill what Christ said about looking gout for the least of these.
If someone is hospitalized or in a long term care facility, there may be a chapel or day room where you can wheel them in a wheelchair and actually have a service with other believers. You can sing, pray, read the word, and if there is no preacher, any believer can give encouraging words about Jesus. Talk to these aging Christians about the importance of letting their light shine right where they are. Even though my grandma could not get out and could no longer help around the house, she could watch the grandchildren and later her first great grandchild. She kept up with current events on the TV and even used Myspace We made sure to tell her that she was appreciated and not a burden. She gave me money to purchase Christmas gifts when she became unable to shop herself. Aging seniors can talk about the Lord and live out their faith without being in a building. Somehow Christians believe that joining boards and ministries in the church is what really matters but living for Christ should be every day wherever you are.
© 2019 Cheryl E Preston
Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on September 14, 2019:
Yes He’s everywhere but in this neck of the woods church attendance is enforced like a law.
Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on September 14, 2019:
Yes He is everywhere and you are blessed not to have endured hearing that you have to go to church.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 12, 2019:
I have never been told I have to go to church. You do bring out the ability of worshiping God anywhere. God is everywhere and anyone can read the Bible or pray anytime that want to, but I think people go to church for fellowship and to hear sermons. I guess it is each to their own.
Muyunda Muloke on September 11, 2019:
Thankyou for allowing me to join...God bless
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 11, 2019:
I'm not aware of the elderly told that they have to go to church; that is unreasonable. God is everywhere and can be worshiped anywhere. Thanks for pointing out the alternatives.
charlie from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans on September 11, 2019:
great article, can't believe I am reading it here There are a few of us that have been trying to bring forth these truths but there are few that are willing to study and see truth because they want to be taught mans way.. This is why the Isrelites were given the law and clergy, as PUNISHMENT for rejecting God as their God and King. These truths have been blocked by the apostate church system of man because it takes away the need for a man t follow and their ability to manipulate people. Scripture is clear, a real disciple of Christ of Christ must be filled with the Holy Spirit of God and is lead and taught by It. The HolySpirit was sent to all disciple of Christ to be their teacher. It is the very Spirit of God and as same it has been with Him forever and has seen and knows all things as Scripture says,
Jesus did away with the evil church system that was given to Isreal during their failed attempt to become God's People, at the cross. There is no clergy of church system in thus age. All disciples ARE the people of God and according to Peter are The Royal Priesthood, and Holy Nation.
God bless you sister preach the rest of the truth becuse you are seeing it, the real church of Jesus Christ is a fully Spiritual entity as will be all the sons (male and female) that inherit the eternal Kingdom of God after the judgment. There are never going to be plastic preachers in the real church of Jesus Christ. They are abominable messes and Jesus clearly labels them correctly as HRELINGS and rejects them all, they are those that He warns will come in His name
Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on September 10, 2019:
I commend you, Cheryl, for your presentation on how the traditional church elders can worship traditionally. That is a step toward becoming the church of "the called out from", as church means, the world. Please! don't feel judged by what I'm about to say as I give you the benefit of experiences as a "Born Again" (John 3:3-8) boy with a testimony of my "conception, gestation, trivial and birth for 43 years now. May it open your eyes to dig deeper into the word.
In Mat. 16:14-18 where Jesus said "That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" my research indicated church means "call out from." Now look at Genesis 2:24 where we get the first instructions to forsake civilization, then 3:24 where the flame purifies our minds of good and evil and the swords is tout us away from all attachments. Then how many other places in the Old Testament do you see people were separated from their traditional way of life.
Now return to the New Testament's Gospels and read the "B Attitudes" of Mat. 5:1-12. My findings is that "blessed" means to "be less than civilization." (All of the scriptures 'm giving here are in Matthew.) Then 6:24-34 where we are told not to serve two masters; 8:19-23 where he told his disciples if they follow him they will have no place to lay their heads; follow that with 19:29 and lastly the "great commandment" 28:19-20 but not forgetting there are many others like them through the Gospels.
Now look Back at Isaiah 7:14-22s "Virgin Birth" prophecy. Where those verses say we are to follow his example by eating butter (civilization made) and honey (environment made) to chose honey/good then forsake the concept of God and Devil over the land of death to be among the alive and remaining of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Now look at your news channel, aren't you able to see in "real time" the events happening in Hong Kong of the east? Didn't Jesus say in Matthew 24:27 "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" and isn't that what that is? So shouldn't we be preparing to be the Alive and remaining?
Think on these thing and b e at peace.