EAST HILLS CONNECTION WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
Think about it ... Pastor Mark
 
Over the years, I have made up and/or collected some euphemisms for times when people don't come to church. Some of my favorites are:
  • Bedside Baptist (when they sleep in )
  • Church of the Inner Springs (the interdenominational version of the last one)
  • Holy Sheets Christian Center (the charismatic version of the first one)
  • Pigskin Presbyterian (when they stay home to watch football)
  • Motorcycle Methodist (you know what this is)
  • Church of the Open Tube (when they stay home to watch television)
  • Recreation Chapel (hiking, fishing, boating, etc.)
  • Lazy-Boy Community Church (just laying around)
  • Get-ter Done Church (mow the lawn, wash the car, do the laundry etc.)
Thom Rainer and Lifeway Research report that many churches in the US are decreasing in attendance. Some say it's because most churches are stuck in the 1920s or earlier. Others say it because the church is too contemporary. The most prevalent one is that our nation is moving away from its Christian roots so that means smaller churches and a decreasing ratio of Christ-followers to the population.
 
In my lifetime, I have seen our country become more secular, young people become more pagan, sin become more accepted, and more materialism and hedonism. There seems to be less Christians who live a surrendered, separated, spiritual life in Christ. Perhaps decline in church attendance may also be due to the substantial sociological shifts, more immigrants who are not Christian, and prosperity?
 
But there is an even bigger reason for the decline that has a greater impact than all others. Thom Rainer and Lifeway Research say the number one reason for the decline in church attendance is that people attend with less frequency than they did just a few years ago. Simply put, God's people aren't coming to church as often as they used to.
 
Here is how that works: If the regularity of attendance changes, then attendance will respond accordingly. For example, if 200 members attend every week the average attendance is, obviously, 200. But if just one-half of those members miss one out of four weeks, the attendance drops to 175.
 
Did you catch that? Nobody left the church. Everyone is still relatively active in the church. But attendance declined over 12 percent because half the members changed their attendance patterns slightly. Here is how this happens in real life:
  • "The Oakland A's game is on at 10 AM so I'll stay home from church" (the same goes for Giants, Raiders, or whoever your favorite team is)
  • "I have a little sniffle. I think I'll stay home to get better."
  • "I had a rough week at work. I'm going to sleep it off and take it easy."
  • "The kids have a soccer game, Little League, or a sports event. Let's skip church."
  • "We need a family day or a marriage day."
  • "We want to go to Disneyland, San Francisco, or someplace in the mountains."
  • "Sunday was our best day to see our family, so we skipped worship."
  • "I wanted to go fishing (skiing, golfing, boating etc.)."
 
These are just some of the excuses church leaders hear. Some of them are kind of funny and some of them are down-right sad. Unfortunately, this issue is of church attendance is the one that is taking God's church, our witness, our families, and individual lives off track in their Christian pilgrimage. If we don't change this in America, it will be one of the major reasons Christianity, faith, and even our nation vanishes.
 
This drop in attendance is so slight that we almost don't notice it. We don't see it when a person who used to come to church four times a month starts to come three times a month. It is hard to notice when a twice-a-month attender becomes a once-a-month attender. But when aggregate church attendance drops 15% or more, it is hard to miss! Then, church leaders start scratching their heads and start tinkering with things that might not need to be fixed. The real issue is God's people are choosing to ditch weekly worship.
 
This week, I want to talk to you about your church attendance. If you come to church 46 Sundays a year, I am not talking to you. But if you are one of the ones says "I come when I can," you are one of the folks who I need to talk to. Here are ten things that happen when you don't come to church:
  1. When you don't come to church, it retards your walk with Christ. When I skip exercise, I get fat. When I don't take a shower, I stink. When I don't take my blood pressure pills, my blood pressure goes up. Well, it is the same with church attendance. When you don't come to church, your walk with Christ will suffer.
Over the years, people have told me that they can worship anywhere. Some even say their worship is better in the great outdoors. Perhaps this may be true in the short-term. But it is not true in the long run. Over the years, I have seen spiritual drift, encroaching carnality and back-sliding in people who neglect weekly public worship.
 
My dad used to tell about a church member who suddenly stopped coming to church. After a few months, the pastor went to see the man. The pastor found the man at home alone, staring blankly into a blazing fire. Silently, the man let the pastor in, pointed to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and said nothing.
 
The pastor made himself at home but said nothing too. In the silence, he enjoyed the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully lifted a brightly burning log and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent.
His host didn't say a word and watched all this. That lone log's flame flickered and then weakened. There was glow for a while, but then fire went out. Now the log was cold and there was no flame.
 
The pastor glanced at his watch and realized it was almost time to go. He got up, moved the log back with the other logs. Almost immediately the log had flames engulf it. The log emitted its own flames. It glowed, once more with the light and warmth of the other burning logs around it.
 
As the pastor started to leave, his host stopped him. With a tear trickling down his cheek, he said: "Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I need the warmth and energy of worship. I can't glow for God by myself."
 
As believers, church attendance is of high importance. It is a place we can all come together to worship, serve, encourage one another, and learn from God's Word for spiritual growth. Hebrews 10:25 says: "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
 
2. When you don't come to church, you miss the blessing. There have been many, many times, when I have been tired, frustrated, discouraged, and lonely. Each time I almost stayed home. But since I am committed to go to church regardless of "rain, snow, or nuclear disaster," I went anyway. Each time I have dragged myself to church, God has blessed my effort. At least, I have heard one song that lifted my spirits, got one new insight from God's Word, or had one person that gave me a word of encouragement. I figure if I get just one good thing from my time in public worship, my time has been well-spent. That is the blessing of weekly worship!
 
3. When you don't come to church, you dishonor God. Sure, there are legitimate reasons for missing church. Grief, illnesses, and perhaps work are valid reasons to miss worship. But car shows, wine and cheese festivals, watching football and the like are not legitimate reasons. I understand vacations but being gone twice a month? One person told me they were "stressed out" and just needed a day off to stay home from church in their "jammies." Seriously? It is hard to justify skipping church for such frivolous reasons when Jesus suffered and bled and died for your sins to give you eternal life.
 
I worked as a realtor during seminary and to augment my income when I was a church planter. The most productive times for realtors are open houses on Sundays. But I made a promise to God that I would never work on Sunday mornings! I believe that God blessed my business and my life far more by honoring God in this way. Number five on God's Top Ten list (Exodus 20:8-11) says: "Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy." If it is in God's Ten Commandments, we must take it seriously and obey it!
 
One of my friends owns a Chick-fil-A franchise. As you may know, Chick-Fil-A is never open on Sundays. Chris told me their company makes more in 6 days of business that the other fast food stores do in 7. I think that is true in your personal life too! That's why I encourage you to consider how to structure and balance your work, your leisure, your family time, your exercise time, and your home responsibilities in such a way as to include weekly worship. God will bless your life, work, family, and even your income if you honor Him in this way.
 
4. When you don't come to church, you teach your kids to live uncommitted lives. By your example you show that God doesn't really matter that much to you. If you stay home when they are kids, they will stay home when they are adults. If you want your grandchildren to follow the Lord, it is the same thing.
 
I once heard about a man who was blind and deaf. He couldn't hear or see but he was in church every Sunday. One day, his caregiver asked him in Braille why he still went to church. He said: "I go to church to show everybody whose side I'm on!" Folks, show your kids, your grandkids, your neighbors, and the world that you are on Jesus's side! Be in church every Sunday!!
 
5. When you don't come to church, it discourages your church staff. They work hard all week to minister to you and to your family. They cleaned the facilities. They practiced the music. They recruited volunteers. They prepared and prayed. And the people of church stayed home. It's like giving a party and people don't come! One of the hardest things to see are a stack of worship programs in the trash can, communion elements unused, children's materials not used, and empty seats.  
 
6. When you don't come to church, guests and visitors don't come back. We have visitors and guests on most Sundays. But if the church family is gone, and visitors don't get greeted or befriended, then these new people think this is a cold church. When the room is not full, there are less people singing and the enthusiasm is less. When this happens, visitors and guests assume that nothing is going at our church. But when there is a happy, joyous crowd that is celebrating God and faith, people come back and we get to help another family or person grow in the Lord. Just coming, singing, and greeting people is a powerful ministry you can have each week!
 
7. When you don't come to church, you make it harder for the serving crew. When you are gone, someone else has to do your ministry as well as theirs. If you have a ministry and are gone, somebody has to do double-duty. But if everybody shares the load, nobody burns out and everybody is blessed.
 
8. When you don't come to church, we worry that something happened to you. Our pastors and staff might not call you or send you a note. We have 50 people in our church list who are gone every week so we can't physically contact all our absentees. When I was pastoring a small church, I used to contact the absentees. That sure made people mad or uncomfortable so I don't do that anymore. But we do wonder if you are sick or were in an accident.
 
9. When you don't come to church, your church staff will not be at our best. Several years ago, I watched an interview with one of the San Francisco Giants just as they had left Candlestick Park for the new AT&T stadium. This player observed that it was harder to play at Candlestick because it was a ¾ empty stadium. They didn't hit as well. They didn't enjoy playing as well. He said: "We play better when the stadium is packed." The same is true in a church. The worship team is more enthused and sound better in a full room. The preacher preaches better. The Holy Spirit is more active when God's people are engaged in worship. That's another reason to come to church every Sunday!
 
10. When you don't come to church, you don't build long-term relationships. When we live solitary lives, there is more depression, more illness, and more spiritual malaise. If you look at the book of Acts, they worshipped, ministered, and did life together. The Apostle Paul never traveled alone. In his writings, he mentions over 150 names of actual people. If you go to church a few Sundays a month, come late and leave right away out a side door, you won't have the opportunity to form friendships. Someday, you will need friends desperately. On that day, you will wish that you have come to church faithfully and invested in friendships. 
 
For these ten reasons and several more, I encourage you to come to East Hills Church for worship this Sunday and every Sunday. Bring a Bible, a smile, and an open mind to let God talk to you.
 
So, see you for worship this Sunday at East Hills Church!  Bring a Bible, a smile, your friends, family, neighbors, and work contacts. Remember, we have:
 
 
9:15 AM - Adult Class - Bible study and discussion in the Fellowship Hall
 
11:00 AM - Nursery - Children age 0 through Grade 2
 
11:00 AM - Worship Service - Up-beat praise and Bible teaching
 
11:25 AM - Children's Church - Grades 3 through 6

I love being your pastor!
Pastor Mark Platt
This Week's Message
Each week EHCC strives to give you a spiritual uplift and the tools for live your life for God. We will finish our study of the Seven Churches of Asia called "What Jesus Says to East Hills Church and to You." This Sunday we will look at Revelation 3:14-22. Laodicea was the last church to which Jesus wrote. Perhaps you have lost your zest for faith. Maybe your life with Christ seems lackluster and you are unexcited about your spiritual life. Pastor Mark's title is "Be Passionate." Jesus will teach us four steps to rejuvenate your walk with Him. Great people, music, coffee, our adult class, children's ministries, and more! See you at 11 AM!
 
After the 11 AM service, we will have our Annual Meeting! There will be snacks, reports, praises, and testimonies of God's goodness. We will ratify the 2020 budget and church officers. It will be short but sweet!
What's Next!

February 23 - EHCC Annual Meeting after the service
March 1 - Pastoral Searchers Workshop and Luncheon
March 8 - Tom Coyan Leading Worship
March 15 - Pastor Don Ott Preaching
March 27 - Hymn Sing
April 5 - Palm Sunday
April 12 - Easter Sunday + Brunch & Egg Hunt
May 8 - Bingo Night
May 10 - Mother's Day
June 5 - Hymn Sing
June 7 - Pastor Gary Clatterbuck Preaching
June 21 - Father's Day
Our Easter Offering this year will be used to send direct mail invitations to East Hills for Easter. We need $5000. We are praying that many people will come to our service and hear the Good News! Specify that this is your "Easter Offering" as an over and above gift beyond your normal giving. Please pray for this important outreach!
Easter is April 12. Keep praying for our Easter Outreach to our community. Ask God to send us dozens of guests and seekers to hear the Good News on that day.
Men's Bible Study Tuesday mornings at 6:30 AM  
Pastor Mark is leading a study on the 20 attributes of a man of God from 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. There is coffee, fruit and pastries. We'll get you on your way to work by 7:30 AM with encouragement, insight, and God's spirit. We meet in the Pastor's Office just off the EHCC Fellowship Hall.

1st Corinthians

Women's Bible study on Thursday nights with Evie Berg. Right now, they are studying book of 1 Corinthians. Call June Peterson at (510) 604-4277 for more information. All women are invited to enjoy the fellowship and the fun of Bible study!
Join us for Sunday Adult Bible Study!
Sunday's @ 9:15 AM

It is a discussion format of the previous Sunday's sermon. This study is designed to go deeper into the Bible passage that we studied last Sunday. Built into this study is the opportunity to consider more ways that the Bible passage can be applied to your spiritual growth.
Next Sermon Series

Pastor Mark's new sermon series is titled "What God Says to East Hills Church and to You." Imagine being at church and someone said: "Jesus wrote our church a letter and I want to read it to you right now!" Well, that actually happened!   In Revelation 2-3, the Apostle John brought a letter from Jesus to seven churches in Asia Minor. This is a very important series for EHCC as we begin our search for a new pastor. You will be helped in your Christian walk and encouraged to draw closer to the Lord. Here are the titles and texts for the coming sermons:
 
# 7. February 23 - Revelation 3:14-22 - Laodicea - "Be Passionate!"
In The Bible (Reading Plan)


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Weekly Through the Bible Readings
Join us as we read through the Bible in 2020:  
 
February 9-15            Leviticus 1-14; Mark 1-3
February 16-22          Leviticus 15-27; Mark 4-6
February 23-29          Numbers 1-17; Mark 7-9
March 1- 7                  Numbers 18-36; Mark 10-13
March 8-14                Deuteronomy 1-19; Mark 14-16
March 15-21              Deuteronomy 20-34; Luke 1-2
March 22-28              Joshua; Luke 3-6
 
Click to download a .PDF of our 2020 Reading Plan
Listen Online

Sunday Morning
  • 9:15 AM - Adult Class

Bible study and discussion in the Fellowship Hall 

  • 11:00 AM - Worship Service

Up-beat praise and Bible teaching

  • 11:00 AM - Nursery

Children age 0 through Grade 2

  • 11:25 AM - Children's Church

Grades 3 through 6

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