Throughout the ages, the people of God have found it important to set aside a time for worship. When the Jewish people were found in other lands, they spent money and time to get back to the city of Jerusalem to be a part of temple worship for special religious celebrations. In Psalms, David described how important it was for him to go to God's house for worship. David was described as a "man after God's own heart." One of the attributes of David was reflected in Psalms 122:1. He proclaimed, "I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord." Worship in God's house was not viewed as a drudgery but as a delight.
In the New Testament, Jesus and his disciples show us the importance of worship in their lives. "And he (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and as was his custom, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read." Luke 4:16. From this verse we see that Jesus had a custom of going up to the synagogue to worship.
In America, throughout the 1900's those people who had accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior had years of perfect attendance at Sunday school and church. With those families it was never a question of where they were going on Sunday morning.
In Mark 1:21 it is reported, "And they went into Capernaum and straightaway on the Sabbath day he (Jesus) entered into the synagogue and taught.
Paul, speaking to the Hebrew Christians said this, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another and so much the more as ye see the day approaching." Paul is stressing the importance of worshipping together in an assembly. He also said that this would be even more important as we saw the day approaching. This day that he was talking about was the day of Christ's return. The first century church was expecting this to happen at anytime. We know that we are now over 2000 years closer to that day than the first century Christians were.
Jesus also said that one of the signs of his return was, "a great falling away from the church." We are in that time now. In most American churches, attendance and membership peaked in the 1960's and since that time the church as a whole has been in the midst of an attendance decline.