You would be surprised that after a week-long of traffic on the busy roads of Lagos, you wake up on Sunday morning and the road is still busy. You are in Nigeria, a country where it’s about default to be in church on a Sunday morning if you are a Christian. Why do Nigerians attend church on Sunday?
Almost everyone goes to church on Sunday, including the one that remembered he was a Christian only on Monday just because he went to church yesterday and lived like a ‘normal’ human being for the remaining days, the one that reads his daily devotional every morning, and of course that is the best she can do, those who will start preparing for the gorgeous dress they would wear the next Sunday, and some other ones, and the one that constantly carries a consciousness of his identity every day of the week till the next Sunday.
No doubt! Going to church is usually interesting, although this depends on the kind of environment you leave in. For some, they get to see some beautiful people and make some new friends while some are just restricted to the religious and boring routine of praying hard and then listening to a sermon for a 2-hour period that seems like an eternity. Well, we all have different reasons for going to church, especially on Sundays. We also do go to different kinds of churches and this in one or the other affects our experiences. It will determine whether we are excited to wake up at 7 on Sunday after waking up at 4.30 every other day or we just want to be in the church not too late to be noticed so that we avoid some unnecessary ‘follow up calls’.
For me, I can tell the story from different perspectives because I have had a bite of the different sides of the church cake. I can tell for sure that there are hundreds of different reasons why Nigerians attend church on Sunday. Some of these reasons change as time goes on, for example, children have a completely different set of reasons why they attend churches on Sunday.
First of all, if you leave in Nigeria, you would almost feel like a sinner if you sat at home on a Sunday morning doing nothing. So why exactly do people go to churches on Sunday?
Those who go to church because they don’t want to appear sinful
Many go to church because they do not want to appear sinful. Some Nigerians don’t have any pleasure in going to church. They have nothing to gain except for the long hour of a sermon when they can catch some sleep. There is no another motive but if they stay at home, everybody would condemn them. Even if they will not say anything to them, but their body movement alone would say something like ‘you pagan, you honour not the Sabbath day’. This idea is an offshoot of the 4th commandment in the 10 commandments. This is a major reason why it is almost a default habit to go to church on Sundays for many Nigerians. This idea is beginning to fade away as we are enlightened to know that we are not actually under the law. We are not meant to live by the law, but by the Spirit. We should not go to church on Sunday because it is a law but because we love God and we like to hang with him. And again, the Spirit instructed us in the book of Hebrew 10: 25 not to forsake the assembly of one another. Of course, there is the argument of which day is the actual sabbath, but that will no longer matter when you are not going to church because there is a law. Wait a minute, if you go to church on Sunday because the Bible commanded it, why would you go to church on any other day since it is not commanded in the Bible? Is it wrong to go to church on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or any other day?
Those who go because of Bae or Babe
Back then in Delta state, I started a conversation with a cobbler near my house. Hoping to lead him to Christ in the process, I asked him after a while ‘so which church you dey attend’. He responded with so much joy in his heart and said ‘na catholic church’. So I decided to know why he attended a Catholic church. I was surprised at his response but he was just being real. In your mind, you are like ‘ewww, how can you go to church all because of a girl?’, well, people do that, male and female alike. There are also ladies who go to some mega-churches just to hook up with some guy. Of course, people dress their best on Sunday and so everybody looks ‘holy’ and gorgeous. Some of these treasure hunts is just for a ‘fun’ relationship, while some is a search for a serious life partner as we call it. If we no find wife for church, where we wan find wife? Anyway, it’s actually not bad to seek a life partner in the church but of course, you would agree with me that not only Christians go to church. And the only reason to attend a church should not be just because you want a life partner, there are other factors to consider. That aside, some young boyfriends and girlfriends whose parents will not allow to meet in their various houses have only one lifeline to see once in a week. They meet after service in the church on Sunday, so you can imagine how important going to church is for them. There are others too who love to meet with some cool friends they have made in the church.
Some Nigerians Attend Church on Sunday to hear the choir sing
Admit it! We all love music. Music is one beautiful phenomenon that gives us a happy and soothing experience. It is no surprise that people can attend a church service just to listen to a choir ministration of about 10 minutes, they don’t mind to endure the remaining parts of the service where there is no music. It is not carnal to like music, good music not just music. God initiated music, he gave us the ability to create music and he expects us to be excellent at it. By the way, he expects excellence in everything we do. The kind of music produced in some of our churches is not of a high standard, though some have good content. But we have to realize that the young generation growing in the church is exposed to a high standard of music and the church must be ready to produce his even while we ensure that the content of the music is enriching to the lives of the listener. If we do not take care of this, our young one will prefer to be in the secular music circle. Thank God for some amazing gospel ministers who pay attention to high quality in their music production.
Others Nigerians Attend Church on Sunday to pray about their problems
This is another set of people who are desperate for change and they believe when they pray in the church their problems would be solved. It is through that the problems get solved in the church but that that is not all there is. Some of these people never get any chance to pray again privately and the will not be able to attend the midweek service so Sunday is their only chance to go to the church.
Some go to church on Sunday because they feel is a Service to God
Some other fellows go to church on Sunday to ‘serve God’, they feel that is what they owe God. Once they are done with this, they are done. They owe God nothing again. This is not outrightly so, when we go to church, we rather get served because God’s presence refreshes us and makes us better people in every ramification of our lives.
To sum it all,
Whatever reason you attend church remember that you are not going there to meet your own needs. God needs your worship and He also needs you to bless someone else. When you come to church, you add fragrance to the service there is a blessing and aura that comes with you that nobody has. And it is very important that you never miss church on Sunday, the Bible tells us not to forsake the assembly of other Christians. In as much as we pray or fellowship individually, there is a blessing that comes to us when we gather together as the body of Christ. Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, sighted an example recently he says that a church is like a school. There are things you can only learn in the four walls of a University. You cannot compare someone who just read to pass WASSCE/GCE that did not attend a secondary school] with someone who passed through a secondary school. This is what church is, it is an institution a place where we learn and get all of our questions answered. If your church doesn’t feel like what I just described, maybe you might consider changing your church.
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Michael Adegoke is a tech-savvy Christian who loves to create content that transforms lives. He has a degree in English & Literature and has engaged in different aspects of the digital space including Graphic Design, Digital Marketing Search Engine Optimization & Content Creation. Michael loves to help people solve their most puzzling problems; he cares so much about you, for real.