- originally posted at womendevotions.com in 2018
Why should I go to church? It’s a valid question. I mean our excuses…er…reasons seem valid!
- I believe in God. I can worship Him anywhere.
- I’m busy and can’t sacrifice an hour on Sundays.
- I can listen to the message online!
Growing up, it was my family’s culture to attend church every Sunday and often Wednesday too! We went for the community, we went to show our love and devotion to God, and we went because it was important to show in a tangible way what we valued as a family together as a family. However, culture changes doesn’t it?
Christian families have by and large gone from attending church twice a week with the rare exception to attending once a month. Once a month is the new norm due to sports activities, working on the weekends and dare I say ….families not understanding the relevance of physical attendance anymore.
With that in mind, I’d like to invite you into a little perspective shift and help you understand why you should go to church as often as possible. The five reasons you can’t ignore are because of community, corporate worship, using your gifts, hearing the word, and my favorite…because God said so.
#1. Go to Church to Enjoy Community
People, we go for community. There’s something about walking into a building or a room where everyone there (or most everyone there) knows they’re innately flawed, but holds on to hope and seeks to share the love of Jesus. We go to check in on each other (how are you? Did you get that job? Is your kid feeling better?) Yes, you can do that on FaceBook but it means so much more when they see the care in your eyes and feel the warmth of your hug. There’s something about your kids seeing their friends and your friends all together in the same place because Jesus is that important! I don’t know about you but I want my family to be able to walk into at least one place once a week where most everyone is excited to see them, they’re valued, and where they’re loved.
If we value spending time with our blood family via nightly dinners around the table, vacations, bedtime routines and more, shouldn’t we value regularly and intentionally meeting up with our Jesus family too? Make it a priority to see your church family face to face. In fact, go even further than a Sunday gathering, and join a small group (Acts 2:46) if your church offers them. We were made for community and it’ll help us grow spiritually when we’re walking together.
#2. Go to Church to Worship with Others
We go to worship alongside others. Yes, you can worship to Hillsong by yourself in your car, but boy oh boy is it a great experience to hear your neighbor sing completely out of tune with deep love to our savior, and to hear your other neighbor sing like an angel and think, “man, this must be just a touch of what heaven must be like”. There is NO experience like it. Worshiping in a room full of worshipers is a life-giving, energizing, hope filling experience where The Holy Spirit loves to do some of His best work! Don’t cheat yourself out of that experience and opportunity! And give God the glory He deserves!
#3. Go to Church to Use Your Gifts
God has blessed each one of us with natural talents and spiritual gifts that we are told to use to serve others (1 Peter 4). Yes, you can and should use them outside of the church but you must use them inside the church too. The church is described as a body with many parts, each with their own function (1 Corinthians 12-14) and you’re part of that. Your church wouldn’t be the same if you weren’t there using your gifts. If you don’t know what your spiritual gifts are, you should take a spiritual gifts inventory or ask your pastor about one.
#4. Go to Church to Hear the Word
We go to hear the Word. I know, I know…we can listen to the podcast or watch the vodcast online BUT once again I say, it’s sooo much better in person! There’s a feeling in the room when a truth hits home. There’s an opportunity to squeeze your neighbor’s hand when a chord is struck. There’s a chance to tell your pastor in person you appreciated his obedience in sharing God’s word. Additionally, unlike the distractions at home that can pull you away from staying focused on the podcast, when you’re sitting in an auditorium having your kids watched for you, you can take detailed notes to study later and go deeper into the Word.
And (wink wink, nudge nudge) let’s be honest, when life is this busy, we often find it hard to make time for church online too. Therefore, might as well make the effort to go.
5. Go to Church Because God Said So
And last, but certainly not least, we need to go to church because God said so. Hebrews 10:25 says we ought not to be “neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (ESV).
We should not give up meeting together. We must stay together. We need each other to encourage one another. We need the accountability. And we as the body are called to point each other in a loving way away from sin and back to Jesus. These things are so much harder to do unless you’re regularly physically meeting together. And because it’s a command from God, we should be treating it so.
One More Reason
And you know what? I’m gonna throw one more reason in…go to church in order to love, encourage, and support your pastor(s). Your pastor(s) and staff live and breathe serving the local church. Every day they’re praying for you, visiting you, supporting you, planning for you, learning for you and so much more. And their favorite day of the week? Sunday. On Sunday, they wake up not only excited to go and see the fruits of their labor, but go see the faces of all those God loves and has called them to serve. On Sundays they see their WHOLE church family gathered in one place for a common purpose. It’s a thing of true beauty that makes all the work worth it and gives them a glimpse of what heaven will be like someday. When you’re not there, they notice it; they feel it, and they miss you.
Okay, okay. So, all that being said, life still happens. I get it. All I’m trying to convey is that face to face meeting with your brothers and sisters in Christ is so important that you need to make it a priority as often as you can. I hope I’ve impressed that upon you in this blog. However, life is what it is, circumstances are what they are, and therefore, I know one church that is doing what they can to serve you better, Pursuit Church Live. This church is completely online and they’re making it work. Should you still meet in person, yes, but their pastor addresses that too. If an online church is legitimately your only option, give them a try. But because it is a command from God to meet together in person, this online church should only take the place of corporate worship if you cannot attend a church once in a while or for a season.
What are your plans to make going to church a priority? Or do you still not see the validity in regular attendance? Comment below.