Almost weekly I come across people who struggle with the idea of attending church every Sunday. Of course, this isn’t a new challenge. Since the beginning of the church, those early leaders had to challenge this issue as well. The writer of Hebrews encouraged believers “And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing.” (Hebrews 10:4-25 CSB)
We‘ve all heard it said “You don’t go to church, you are the church.” Whilst I hear what they’re saying, it can lead to an unhealthy worldview that pits being the church and going to church against each other. However, Church never refers to an individual but rather to a grouping of individuals.
This is a pattern we see in the New Testament. The early believers would gather together weekly and sometimes daily to worship God, pray, talk about Jesus and share community together. We sometimes forget that the letters of Paul and the other Apostles were sent to people and churches, to be read aloud to groups of people.
I love what Craig Groeschel shared recently, “Do not reduce church to listening to a podcast. It’s so much more than that. It’s community. It’s worshiping with others, praying for others, hurting with others, serving others, being involved in the lives of others.”
I’m not for a minute trying to persuade you to go to a certain denomination, type of church or style of church – I want to challenge you to get up on a Sunday and get to a church service as often as is physically possible and to forsake all the other things that pull you away from a church service… that shouldn’t really be pulling you away.
The biblical pattern for church is this:
- Every Christian should gather together to hear the Scriptures and worship Jesus with other believers weekly (see Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Acts 2:42; Col. 3:16; 1 Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15; Rom. 16:5; Acts 20:20; James 2:2; Ps. 84:4; Ps. 37:17; Ps. 92:13).
- It is also good to meet for smaller groups of Christian community in each other’s homes regularly (see Acts 2:46).
- It’s good to have leaders oversee the work and needs of each local church. Not all of us are called to church leadership, and so we should submit to and serve whoever God has called to lead at the place we find ourselves (see Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5; Heb. 13:7, 17; 1 Tim. 5:17; 1 Thess. 5:12-13; Phil. 1:1b; Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Cor. 12:28; 1 Peter 5:1-2; Acts 20:17).
- If there are believers who are unable, for physical reasons, to attend a church weekly, they should find a church or believers who will gather together with them regularly for worship in their own home (see James 5:14; James 1:27).
Having said all that, here are my 4 compelling reasons to be at church on a Sunday :
1. God says so.
God tells us in his Word to “not give up meeting together” (Heb. 10:25). Paul even goes so far as to call the church the “bride of Christ.” If you love Jesus, you will love the things that he loves—and he loves the church like a husband loves his bride. The church is important to God, so it should be important to us.
God didn’t call us to gather and worship to burden us, but to bless us. Church attendance can become one of the greatest blessings in you and your family’s life.
2. Worshipping Jesus together is powerful.
Jesus dwells inside of Each of us by his Spirit when we believe in him. But there is also something biblically powerful about gathering together with other believers to worship. Not only does Jesus dwell in us by his Spirit, but he is in the “midst” of us when we gather to worship him.
3. We need Christian community.
You and I were created for community. Just look at people who don’t go to church on a Sunday. By far the majority make a plan to be with others on a Sunday whether it be for a braai, some sport event, with others at the beach or connecting over coffee.
All of us long for community and connection with others, whether we realise it or not.
Research shows that people who regularly attend church report stronger social support networks and less depression. They smoke less and lead healthier and even longer lives. In a very real and physical way, Church is literally good for your health too.
4. We grow more together than alone.
It can be messy when we step into each other’s lives.
Gathering regularly with other believers becomes a refining process whereby we help each other, pray for each other and encourage each other to want to follow Christ more wholeheartedly. It is a an incredible thing to witness.
A thought in closing
We’ve all heard the adage “no man is an island”. It means that no one is truly self-sufficient, everyone must rely on the company and comfort of others in order to thrive. The phrase is a quote from a sermon written by the poet John Donne in 1624.
The fuller quote makes sense of why it’s important to be part of the bride of Christ and the body of Christ, both images the Bible speaks of when referring to the church.
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…”John Donne (1624)
I really do believe that the best place for us and our kids is in church on a Sunday. See you Sunday 🙂