“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:20
We have more and more people who believe that church is irrelevant because they believe all that the church once provided can be provided by modern society. From community service projects to feeding the poor, from self-help and support groups, they provide the modern person with what the Church used to (and occasionally still does) provide.
So is church still necessary? Is is that important that I go? The simple truth is that there are valid reasons for needing to miss church. And the truth is missing one Sunday every once in awhile is pretty harmless. Just as missing exercise once in awhile is not a major issue. But when you consistently miss your workouts, is when you stop receiving the benefits. The same is true of attending church. You miss one Sunday with the flu, no problem. But then you miss to go to the beach. Or cut your grass. Or maybe you just want to chill out by attending bedside community church. The fact is that it is easy to move from skipping community worship on Sundays “just this once” into “oh I can skip, no big deal” and suddenly you are only attending on Easter and Christmas.
As a pastor, you probably can figure out where I stand on this issue. But for the record, I believe, as Bill Hybels does when he said, “the local church is the hope of the world.” The local church is the hope of people who are far from the heart of God. In addition, I believe attending church regularly is vital to spiritual growth. It’s the one habit that can strengthen all other Christian habits combined.
So why go to church? First, scripture tells us to. Going to church is not just a suggestion, it is God’s will for believers. Hebrews 10:25 says we should “not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Even in the early church, some were falling into the bad habit of not meeting with other believers. The author of Hebrews says that’s not a good idea. We need the spiritual encouragement that church attendance affords.
Second, you may hear something that will motivate and convict you to make changes in your life. I have heard pastors use the phrase, “The service you miss is the service you need.” Each service is tailored and designed to maximize your Sunday worship so that you can leave with the best possible spiritual experience. You can praise and worship God and you can learn things that you didn’t know before. You will be challenged. You’re going to be motivated. Church is where you will be inspired to go higher than you’ve gone, to live a life that is godlier and greater than you’ve been living. And to sync your life up with Jesus and His purpose and plan a Home Run Life.
Third, be a part of the change you are looking for. As the world searches for positive models to follow, you have the opportunity to be that model. When you go to church, others take notice. You are setting an example that other people notice. Examples inspire so why not inspire others. People want to do better, live better, and be better. For the people around you, whether it’s your friends or your co-workers, whether it’s your family, when they see that you have a commitment that is leading you to living a better life – that is a positive example that other people can follow.
So is church attendance still importance? Nothing does more for your spiritual health than regularly being in church. Being in a church service is irreplaceable. It is a moment in time and once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. There will always be competition for your time and other things that you could do on a Sunday.
- Do you really need to attend church? Why or why not?
- Do you believe being part of a church satisfies our need for belonging and acceptance.
- Does church give you the ability to minister to others? Is church one of the ways to exercise the ministry gift God has given you to be a blessing to someone else.
- Does the church minister to you? You have questions. There’s no better place to find the answers and comfort and support you need than a church of people who genuinely care about you. Agree or disagree?