Exposing a secular mindset
First, you need to realize that secularism means “this age”. To the secular worldview, what matters is the temporal world. Any ideas about the eternal shouldn’t influence how we act as a society, and religion gets in the way of modernization and human flourishing. In other words, secularism isn’t concerned with cosmic ideas such as heaven and hell (expressed in John Lennon’s song Imagine). It is all about this age, and getting the most out of this life.
Exercising a secular mindset
This secular mindset is what professing believers are adopting, even if unwittingly, when they treat church as if their attendance or absence has no bearing on the life and health of the institution that Jesus started and is expressed in local assemblies. Your absence is a testament to your secular mindset. Your actions speak loudly, that church doesn’t matter all that much. You’ve got your ticket to heaven and that’s all that matters for the next life, so you can just go and live this life, you don’t need church. But you do need the church, and the church needs you. It isn’t some secondary matter, and to treat it as optional or occasional is to give into the secular mindset.
Your attendance matters
Jesus said that he will build the church, and the local church is the visible expression of the Lord’s promise being fulfilled. Do you want to the local church to die out? You can say “no”, but when you don’t go, you are contributing to the death of the local church expression. Church is important to God. Corporate worship is important to God. Corporate worship is important for you. Corporate worship is important for the life and health of the local church. For Christians, corporate worship is our most important hour of the week. Nothing else takes precedence over the worship of God. When you purposefully miss church, you are missing the most important hour of the week. What could possibly take priority over God’s ordained means? You need to make church a non-negotiable habit, just like eating or sleeping, something you skip only in the rarest of circumstances, and something you resume as soon as you possibly can.
Think about it
When you are absent, what are you saying to the culture? What are you saying to new believers? What are you saying to your brothers and sisters in Christ? What are you saying to Jesus? When you decide not to go, are you contributing to the strength of the local church, or are you contributing to the decline of the local church? Do you think Jesus cares? Which matters more, what he thinks about it, or how you feel about it?