Jude 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
I noticed recently when shopping at a hardware store in town that in addition to screws, tools, and paints, they sell beef jerky and other preserved meats. Also, two drug stores in my area have devoted a fair bit of floor space to selling groceries. By offering a greater variety of items I am sure they hope to draw in more customers and increase sales.
But it seems that churches sometimes are tempted to use similar tactics to draw people into their doors. Larger churches have the ability to offer many programs and events to their congregation throughout the year, and often there will be several activities for different age groups every week. The danger however is that Christians in these churches lose sight of what we are told in Jude 3: that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
The reason we do worship at church is to earnestly contend for the faith, and all the extra stuff is secondary. In his book, Becoming a First Century Church, Clarence Sexton (pastor of a very large church) summed this truth up well when he said:
Though our buildings are filled and properties are expanding and people are coming to Christ, never in your life discount the fact that faithful men are out in some unknown place preaching to eight or ten people week after week, declaring the truth of God's Word soundly. They cannot create some religious shopping center, and neither will we.We believe that is is the responsibility of the preacher to declare the truth of God's Word line upon line, precept upon precept, and for families to take that truth into their homes and teach it to their children.Some parent in a small church may say, "Well, I have to take my children somewhere they can really get something!" Get what? What is that something? If they are getting the truth there, stay and work to bring others. You can take your children to a ballgame. The church does not have to do that! You can take them on a picnic; the church does not have to do that! You had better thank God that they are getting the truth there! The church is the pillar and ground of the truth!
May we never lose sight of why we worship our awesome God every Sunday no matter how small our congregation. It's simply to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.