Some may ask “Does going to church really matter?”
The Church and Christian community at large has been completely revolutionized with the internet. While in some ways, it is an amazing thing–yet research shows that church attendance has declined. Many churches are now streaming their services and it is really ideal to be able to catch up virtually when we can’t make it due to being sick or traveling. However, there has been a rise in people forsaking attending church in-person, according to Pew Research, ever since the pandemic occurred.
Believers may find themselves asking, does it really matter if I go to church? Can’t I just watch something online? In our busy world, it is quite convenient to wear our pajamas while sitting on the couch, and simply listen to a church service online (especially when you add in the mix of a family, laundry, work, and the to-do lists that are seemingly endless!). However, the Bible has a lot to say about this topic and it specifically addresses the importance of gathering together.
So while it may be tempting to quit attending church, and instead listen to a podcast or online streamed church service, here are 7 reasons why going to church matters:
The Bible teaches gathering.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 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. Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
When we look closely at these verses, it appears that people having a bad habit of not meeting together for church was a problem even in biblical times. The writer of Hebrews even addresses this issue and encourages Believers to meet together so that we can encourage each other. The Bible instructs us to gather together so that we can spur each other on. Life can be very difficult and our church communities can be a place of help and guidance in troubled times. We can encourage one another when we need it most, and simply put–the Bible says not to forsake meeting together with other believers. Why? The church is a place that God uses to stoke our spiritual fires, through others, and spurs us on to keep the faith. When we meet together and share testimonies, hurts, troubles, and report praises of how God is moving in our lives, we are not just “being a church”, but we are being a family.
We all gain something from meeting together.
What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 1 Corinthians 14:26 (NIV)
Each one of us has a gift, talent, or skill that can be shared with our Christian community. When we are absent from church, we cannot share the gifts that God has given us with our community. So many people are positively impacted because people are willing to share a testimony, pray for one another, or share their talents that God bestowed on them at church. If we aren’t gathering together, we are limiting what God can do through us. God generously gives different giftings and skills to all, so that we may share them with one another. For example, God gifts some with outstanding musical talents and several people who have those gifts choose to share their skills with the church through singing and playing instruments, giving glory to God.
Through going to church, we all gain something from the people around us and that is exactly how God intended it. We each have a purpose in serving God, and serving our community.
Isolation is opposed to God’s plan.
You might be thinking that you don’t need church, and that you can just follow God on your own. While you absolutely can pray and read your Bible at home, isolation is not God’s plan for your life. Humans are social creatures, as God created us to be, and we all need community. When you consider the life of Jesus, even He as God in the flesh, had close relationships (and if anybody could have done the spiritual life alone, it would have been the Lord).
Think of it this way–have you ever watched a lion pride hunt? They strategically work together to isolate their prey from the pack because they understand they are most vulnerable when this occurs. They target weaker animals in a pack, and then work together to isolate them, and then they kill them. The enemy of our souls is not much different and we are stronger when we stay together. We need other Christians and spiritual leaders in our lives because we won’t have all of the answers when life becomes challenging, and we are not meant to do life alone.
Church teaches us the Bible.
It is at church that we learn about God, His Word, and build a foundation for our faith. The Bible is taught by leaders at church and it is a place to bring questions, as we gain deeper understanding together.
It is through the Bible that we learn who God is, what His character is like, and how we can relate to Him. Learning the Bible is vital to our spiritual health and necessary to overcome life’s difficulties.
Christians in the Bible met together.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42 (NIV)
When we open the Bible in Acts, we see how the church functioned. Christians were meeting together frequently and doing life together. They prayed together, worshiped together, ate meals together, listened to teaching together, and enjoyed fellowship with one another. We are called to do church in the same manner.
The church is the body of Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 12, we read that Believers are the body of Christ and we all have different functions, and we all need one another. The scripture shares how we need each part of the body to function, and that is true of Believers. If we are missing different parts of our body, we will surely notice it. And we cannot say to another part of the body that we don’t need that part. We need all parts of the body, and that includes each person who professes Jesus!
We share joy and pain.
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy. You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:26-27 (NIV)
Life can be full of success, joy, and accomplishments but it can also be filled with trouble and brokenness. When we have a church community, we have people that we celebrate the good times with and we also have a community to lean on in times of trouble. We aren’t meant to do our faith walk alone, and we can help others in their times of distress. Likewise, when we go through troubled waters, there are people there to support us.