It’s tempting sometimes to want to skip church. Maybe we have chores and errands that need to get done, maybe it’s too much work to get the family up and out the door in the morning, or maybe we just want to enjoy the beautiful weather outdoors.
If we attend church three out of four Sundays in the month, that’s enough, right?
This kind of thinking (which many Christians have probably fallen into) is really looking at church attendance from the wrong perspective.
In his article for The Gospel Coalition titled “3 Reasons You Should See Going to Church as a Privilege, Not a Chore,” Trevin Wax explains why we may need to fundamentally change our thinking about church in order to appreciate the great gift that God has given us in being part of His body, a community of fellow believers.
Many of us think about church as something we have to do; it’s another thing to check off our weekly checklists. Our view toward church attendance can begin to be transformed, however, when we consider a few important things that remind us of the privilege of meeting each week specifically to focus on God and His people.
Firstly it is important to make a habit of meeting with God’s family because if we truly want to grow as Christians, making a habit of fellowshipping with other believers, hearing the Word of God, and worshipping the Lord are the perfect places to begin. Of course, personal Bible study and prayer are integral as well, but worshipping God corporately provides us an unique opportunity to see what God is doing in the lives of His people, both locally and globally.
In Hebrews 10:24-25 God calls His people not to stop meeting together: “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.”
Meeting together each week in church allows us to receive encouragement and also challenges us to encourage others. Jesus calls those who would follow Him to a life of giving up selfishness (Luke 9:23), which in many cases involves giving up our desires to keep all our time to ourselves.
One important aspect of church attendance, then, is for us to interact with other believers and see how God is working in their lives, but still another is to realize that we need church ourselves as Christians and members of the body of Christ.
Wax notes that Christians in other countries often risk their lives to meet together and worship God. In many places, church attendance is regulated by government or the government imposes certain restrictions on churches. In addition, terrorist groups often target churches in their attacks. ChristianHeadlines.com often reports on the persecution of Chrisitans who simply want to worship the Lord freely, such as the Chinese Christians who have been jailed, interrogated, and even killed for defying the government’s orders to take down the crosses from their churches or to demolish the buildings entirely.
Why do these Christians still try to meet? Why is worshipping God together worth risking their lives?
They know, like many of us in the Western world have not experienced due to our generally comfortable lives, that Christians need God and we need each other. Having that taken away likely would make us realize what a privilege attending church each week truly is.
“We do not go to church because of guilt. We are the church because of grace,” says Wax.
To read about more reasons why church attendance is important for Christians, including that church is the main venue in which to use your spiritual gifts and that church involvement is evidence that you are a Christian in the first place, see David Roach’s article “10 Reasons to be Involved in a Church” on Crosswalk.com.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: April 27, 2016
Veronica Neffinger is the editor of ChristianHeadlines.com