Just how important is Bible class attendance to an individual’s growth?
I want to spend a moment discussing the Bible class program at local congregations. Supposing that the Bible Class program is solid, and learning is taken seriously, then attendance to this program should be greatly encouraged.
Do we take Bible Class attendance seriously?
According to Attendanceworks.org, there are many causes and effects of students missing classes. We will not list the whole list, but we will mention a few and make proper application to Bible classes. Now, these reasons are not ‘hard and fast' rules for every person, but are general principles laid down in order to help us understand the importance of attending Bible classes.
1. Absenteeism in the first month of school can predict poor attendance throughout the school year.
Parents who allow their children to miss classes at the very beginning of the learning process are handicapping their children. While the rest of the class learns on a set schedule, for the student who begins missing Bible classes early, he is constantly in a struggle to ‘catch up.’
It has been my experience that if a person who has just been baptized is infrequent in their Bible class attendance, they will likely be very poor Bible class attendees throughout their lives.
Again, this does not mean that it cannot be fixed, in fact, that is one of the purposes of this article. To help those who need help in understanding the importance of attending Bible classes.
2. Absenteeism and its ill effects start early. One in 10 kindergarten and first-grade students are chronically absent.
We have had 7 (to my recollection) baptisms in the past year or so at the congregation that I attend. If we look around and see how many come to every single Bible class. Would we say that less than 10 percent or more than 10 percent come to each class? It seems that for Bible students attending Bible classes, the percentages are far higher. Being chronically absent for Bible study hurts the student, stagnates growth, and causes the others in the class to become discouraged.
If you are one who is chronically absent you can change that! God wants you to change that. In fact, Paul writing to Timothy says:
15 Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth.
The KJV says:
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:15)
“Give diligence” or “Study” is a single Greek word meaning: “to hasten, make haste; to exert one's self, endeavor, give diligence”
God expects His Children to hasten to be able to rightly divide the word of Truth. To exert one’s self, in learning how to properly understand the Bible.
The Bible class was invented for that very purpose. To help Christians have a time and place whereby they could be properly instructed in the Word of God.
Please, if you are chronically absent, change the habit, and start fresh, attending each Bible class.
3. Poor attendance can influence whether children read proficiently by the end of third grade or be held back.
Supposing the third grade to be the fourth year of schooling when you include kindergarten, we will simply make the proper adjustment to Bible reading proficiency.
A new Christian who has maintained poor Bible School attendance for the first four years of their Christian walk will certainly have troubles reading the word of God properly.
While the word of God may be easily understood, it is a book that requires study to understand it. The Holy Bible is not a Judy Blume or Dr. Suess book. You don’t approach Bible study the same way you pick up Green Eggs and Ham and read it. It takes the proper assessment and proper understanding. On one occasion Peter was speaking of some of Paul’s writings and he states:
As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:16)
First, he states that there are some things that are difficult to understand. The fact is, there are indeed some passages of scripture that are a bit harder to ‘get’ than others.
Second, notice who are the ones who do not understand them? He tells us, two groups. One, the unlearned and two, the unstable.
Those who do not know how to properly read the scriptures and those who are unstable in their understanding.
Bible classes are meant to help people understand the scriptures properly. The Bible class teacher works very hard to aid the student in the learning of God’s Word. But if the student does not attend, the teacher’s efforts will not help the student.
4. By 6th grade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school.
According to this site, statistics show that chronic absence leads to students dropping out of school altogether. Applying the same scale beginning in kindergarten, the 6th grade would be a Christians 7th year of learning.
It comes as no surprise to me that this should be true for Bible Study as well. When a student does not attend Bible classes regularly, and he does so for the first seven years of his Christian walk, this could be a leading indicator that he may very well ‘drop out’ of Christian fellowship altogether.
Chronic absence for seven straight years is debilitating to a person’s growth. When a child is not fed properly for seven years in a row, the child will be malnourished if he is still alive at all. If a parent were to starve his child for seven years, the police would come and take the child from the parent, and charge the parent with child abuse/neglect and a host of other crimes.
Why then do we as leaders in our congregations allow/support young Christians who refuse Spiritual food on a consistent basis? Should we not expect better? I know that we are not ‘cults’ and that we do not force anyone to do anything against their will. But there are ways that we can encourage people who are chronically absent to change their hearts about Spiritual Nourishment.
5. The academic impact of missing that much school is the same whether the absences are excused or unexcused.
First, we want to state that when a person is ill or has some legitimate reason for missing Bible study, then God understands those situations and we do too. That being stated, the impact of the missing of the study is still the same. Please do not misunderstand. We are not saying that you should go to Bible study of you are sick, or in some way understandably hindered. This is not a ‘guilt-trip’ for those who do not need to feel guilty.
However, we place it here as part of the factual evidence recorded by Attendanceworks.org. The fact is, that even in ‘excused absences’ the knowledge that would have been gained by attending is not gained by the absence.
6. When students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects and chances for graduating.
This is a fact that every teacher knows. When students are constantly attending and learning they greatly improve their academic prospects, and their chances to graduate.
Bible classes are the same. The more you attend, the greater you improve your spiritual prospects. Bible classes help us focus on the proper way to live from day to day. And instructs us all on how to get from here to Heaven. Many times I have been in Bible classes and really needed to hear the lesson that was taught. Through God's great providence, often God knows what I need, and on many occasions, my needs were met in the arena of an ordinary Bible Class.
The more you attend Bible classes the greater your probability of reaching Heaven. Now, that does not mean that if you go to Bible class you go to Heaven. It means, that the Student who will take the time to prepare his heart to follow the Lord week after week after week, will likely be the student who will learn properly the way to live so that when this life is over, he will have lived a life well pleasing to the Lord.
So what can we do? According to the same website:
Attendance improves when schools engage students and parents in positive ways and when schools provide mentors for chronically absent students.
Remember when Cain asked God “Am I my brother’s keeper?” How many sermons have we heard over the years explaining that we are indeed keepers of one another? That doesn’t mean that we can MAKE anybody do anything. We cannot. However, when we engage Bible students in positive ways it may encourage them to want to be more faithful in their attendance.
We must reach out to those who are chronically absent, positively, gently and lovingly. To try our best to help them understand that the Bible school program is intended to be a help for them on their spiritual journey.
And while not all learning is done in those few hours each week, when compiled all together, the amount of learning done over the course of a lifetime is immense.
And of course, as I’ve heard some explain, not every single, individual class is worth ‘the money spent’ when you add up all you learn over the course of a lifetime of Bible classes, the amount is priceless.
Sermons and Bible classes are like raindrops. The flowers may not remember every single drop of rain that has fallen on them. But over the course of the flower's life, those drops, little by little, go deep down into the roots and make the flower strong, stable and beautiful for all to see.
When students of God’s word constantly and consistently attend Bible classes, they might not remember every single, individual lesson. But, over time, each lesson goes down deep into the roots, and cause the child of God to be strong, stable and beautiful for all to see.
Original article is found at: