As the interim pastor at Pine River Baptist Church in Pine River, this is my first opportunity to provide a column for the Faith/Living page of the Echo Journal. Therefore, my efforts will be directed to share what is a great concern to me in Christendom today (actually it is two-fold, but they are closely related) - the lack of reverence for God and the lack of interest in church attendance.

It was only as recent as a few decades ago that the majority of people in America attended church regularly and they had a respect for God. Most young people attended Sunday school and “grew up in the church” learning the Ten Commandments along with great Bible stories. Families would sit together in the church pews and Mom and Dad were proud that they were raising their children to worship God.

But that was yesterday and life changes, cultures change, people change - but that is not an excuse to think of God as "the big man in the sky" or "a buddy upstairs."

God is still the Creator and needs to be worshipped - that will never change. God still loves the world and man can still respond to that - that will never change. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, was crucified, buried and risen again, which man needs to accept – that will never change. The Bible is still the Word of God and must be believed – that will never change.

Now what about church attendance? We are told that statistics reveal that fewer people regularly attend services at a local church. Online you can find polls and studies that give the many reasons for that, but right now I am not interested in discussing why people do not attend church.

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Instead, we need to look at the reason why it is important to be involved in church.

“But if tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest

to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church

of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (I Timothy 3:15 KJV)

(Emphasis, mine.)

How important is truth? We are living in a divisive, rebellious time in which right is wrong and wrong is right and “every way of a man is right in his own eyes...” (Proverbs 21:2 KJV)

But there is an absolute truth of the Word of God that we can stand on and it is the responsibility of the church to promote it.

The "pillar" in the previous verse is what holds up the truth. The "ground" is the base or foundation of the truth. This is God's plan and purpose for the local church - the house of God. And it is the people then who need not only to attend the services but to be involved in their workings.

What a privilege to have God give us the responsibility to exalt and proclaim His truth through the local church!

Rich Schroeder is interim pastor at Pine River Baptist Church.