In his letter in the Summer 2017 Concordia Seminary magazine, Seminary president Dale A. Meyer makes an interesting observation. He says, “Some people come to worship rain or shine; almost nothing keeps them away. Others, sadly, have walked away from worship and don’t readily return. In the middle, between the always-come and never-come, are those who come but could drift away” (“From the President,” Concordia Seminary magazine, Summer 2017, p. 5).
Let’s call this group the drifters. What causes someone to become a worship drifter? I know for me, the rub comes on Sunday morning when you are cozy in bed and just want to sleep some more. So you drift off to sleep and skip church. For others it is other commitments and activities on Sunday morning that have taken precedence over worship. Sports practices, Sunday brunches, or shopping that needs to get done all can conspire to draw people away from worship. It does not take much for the drift to happen. Even a change in worship time can cause people to bolt.
What can bring the drifters back? I think of my childhood when I was part of an always-come family. There were times when I did not want to go, for sure. But when I got there, I heard a Bible verse that really spoke to me or saw a friend I did not expect to see and then I was glad I came. Helping people to see that worship is something that can lift the spirit in big or small ways every time is one step in the right direction.
Inviting people to come with you to church helps both you and them to go, as well. You can even offer to pick them up.
So much in life is unsettled and unsteady. But if we are steady in worship, that can give our lives much needed stability. And isn’t that something that a potential drifter can find value in?
As St. Paul says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).