“Here are four powerful reasons you should attend church weekly, and why church attendance can change your life.”
Recently, an online post from a major ministry struck a nerve when it stated the necessity of church attendance for one’s growth as a believer in Christ.
It’s surprising to me how many Christians struggle with the idea of church attendance. We are at a crossroads in our nation on the importance of going to church. According to research, church attendance has remained virtually the same percentage of our national population for the past 70 years. However, this still means there are a huge number of American Christians who are not active in a local church—in the tens of millions.
Of course, this isn’t a new problem. Since the beginning of Christianity, the early leaders had to challenge this mindset, saying “Do not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:25).
A popular Christian motto is, “You don’t go to church, you are the church.” While I get this sentiment in some ways, it can lead to an unhealthy view, pitting “being the church” and “going to church” against each other. If we are truly the church, then we will surely get together with other believers regularly. We cannot “be” the church if we don’t “go” to church.
Church never refers to an individual, lone-ranger Christian who goes about his or her Christian duties, never gathering together to worship with other believers. The church, by its very nature, means multiple believers, who live out Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:20: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
This is both the biblical and historical pattern set forth by the first followers of Jesus. They would get together weekly, and sometimes daily, to worship God. They would also share community together in each other’s homes. Paul and the other apostles’ letters were actually sent to these church communities that gathered in various cities to be read aloud together. Church means getting together with other believers to worship Jesus and hear the Scriptures together, and encouraging one another in the faith.
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.”
And here’s the reality of the Biblical call to gather with other believers: There are many options for “going to church” for each of us. You can look for a church that is right for you. I’m not telling you to go to a certain style, type, or denomination of church—I’m simply challenging you to gather with other believers regularly to worship and hear the Scriptures.
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).
Here are four powerful reasons you should attend church weekly, and why church attendance can change your life:
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 lives inside of us by his Spirit when we believe in him. This is a profoundly incredible truth! But there is also something biblically powerful about gathering together with other believers to worship. Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matt. 18:20). So he not only lives in us by his Spirit, but he is in the “midst” of us when we gather to worship him.
3. We need Christian community.
All of us long for community and connection with others. God has given us this gift in gathering together for church, and in smaller groups in each other’s homes. It fulfills something inside of us to do life with, encourage and be authentically involved in each other’s lives.
Christian TV, podcasts, books and conferences are wonderful additions to our spiritual lives, but nothing can take the place of consistent Christian community through the local church.
4. We grow more together than alone.
It can be messy when we step into each other’s lives. We are all human, and no one is perfect. So it requires effort and intentionality and grace from God to do life together, even as believers.
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 truly-beautiful thing.
Don’t let any excuses stand in the way of what you know God is calling you to do. God will strengthen you and empower you to do what he has called you to do. If you have encountered past wounds from leaders or from church members, I’m praying for you—that God would bring healing and grace to you as you seek to follow him and love his church.
Matt Brown (@evangelistmatt) is an evangelist, author and founder of Think Eternity, an evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands of people with the gospel each year through live events and online. This article was originally published on Matt’s blog at ThinkE.org.