Vol.X No.V Pg.3
July 1973

"Get Away" Weekending

Dan S. Shipley

I am concerned about the increasing number of Christians who appear to have little sense of obligation to the local church of which they are members, especially with reference to being present for regular assemblies. To be sure, most of us will find it necessary to be away on week-ends occasionally, which is understandable. But, the problem lies with those who deliberately and frequently seek to get away on week-end pleasure trips without seriously considering the consequences, either to themselves, to their family, or to the church. And just finding some place to worship while traveling, even with faithful brethren, doesnt resolve all of the problem. The get-away week-ender may be getting away from more than he intends or realizes.

In the first place, the absentee member and his family get away from all the advantages afforded in a regular Bible class attendance. In most Bible studies the element of continuity means much to the learning process. If skipping over certain passages or even chapters in a haphazard manner is poor teaching, what makes it good learning? Yet this is essentially what happens in the case of students with irregular attendance. Such gaps, plus the forfeited study and preparation that should precede these classes, are bound to seriously affect ones learning and growth, not to mention his attitude. Frequently interrupting studies practically guarantees an impairment of interest. Viewed thusly, it is not hard to see the adverse snow-balling effects of irregular Bible class attendance— and the real costs of week-end pleasure.

Furthermore, what absenteeism does to Bible class interest, it also does to spiritual interest generally. Less involvement with the local work and worship not only expresses a lack of concern, it perpetuates it in self as well as in others. Are not we, as the Thessalonians, ensamples to all that believe? (1 Thess. l:7) If all members followed the example of the week-end get-away brethren, what would become of the local church? Surely what is right (?) for a few cannot be wrong for many. Mature Christians cannot ignore the influence of their example, especially among weak brethren. If its not important for them to be here, why do I need to be here?—can become a big question for the babe in Christ —and a legitimate one. When our getting-away means getting away from being a good example and the right kind of influence, it involves immeasurable costs —the kind that cannot be compensated for with pleasure.

Accordingly, the place of every single member is unique and important as a part of the church (1 Cor. 12) —God says so, and the effectiveness of any local church depends on its members seeing this as so. As a God-ordained relationship, it is not one to be discounted —or to get-away from. Let the teacher and student be prepared and in his regular place at the appointed times. Let all members work and worship together as often as possible, being tenderly affectioned one to another; in honor preferring one another and we will be mutually encouraged to quit this getting-away from our responsibilities —and from the rich blessings associated with them.