As a pastor, people occasionally ask me why they should go to church. “After all,” they say, “can’t I worship God just as well when I am in nature or at my house? Do I have to go to church to worship God?” On one hand this is true. We don’t have to be in church to worship God. In fact, as I often say, we are called to worship and glorify God in anything we do, anywhere we are.
On the other hand, as Christians, it is important that we do attend church. The Christian faith is a communal faith. It is very difficult to be a Christian alone. When Jesus sent out the disciples, he sent them out in pairs. Jesus told the disciples that whenever two or more are gathered in his name. 1 John 1:7 says, “but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” In going to church, we continue to live and worship in community.
Going to church is a way of providing and receiving spiritual support. In going to church we receive exposure and instruction to the Word of God. This provides us spiritual support as well as spiritual nourishment. Additionally, our fellow church members provide accountability for us. They are there to support us when we find ourselves in difficult times and they are there to lift us up when we stumble.
Worshipping at church together with a congregation also is expression of our love for God. Additionally, it is a sign of obedience to God. God has commanded us to keep the Sabbath holy. While there is more to the Sabbath than church, by starting our day and our week in worship, it helps us remember to set aside time for God. We are also told in the book of Hebrews that we should not “forsake assembly together”. We are called to gather together for worship on a regular basis.
There are many other reasons why people go to church. If you haven’t been to church in a while, maybe this will persuade you to return. If you are one of our faithful who we see every week, then maybe like me, you have had people ask why they go to church.
As we enter into the new year, it is a good time to rededicate ourselves. It may be deciding to go to church again or increasing your prayer time or trying to read the Bible daily, we all have room to grow.