Church is an interesting place. It can be place of wonderful friendships, amazing worship and solid, interesting teaching. But it can also be an intimidating place, a frustrating place, or a difficult place to be. Whether you enjoy going to church or not, church is important. Church is a biblical concept, and it is a vital part of our Christian walk. So, when we don’t want to be at church, it’s even more important to remind ourselves why: why should you go to church?
But first, let’s think for a minute about what church actually is. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘the Church isn’t the building, it’s the people’, and this is absolutely true! God’s Church is the body of Christians all around the world, it’s everyone who believes in God and declares Jesus as Lord.
So, when we talk about going to church, I don’t simply mean going to a church building on a Sunday morning. I mean intentionally meeting with other members of God’s family, in God’s name. This could be a traditional church service, but it could also be a house group, a fresh expression of church such as Messy Church or a Christian youth group. It should, however be intentional, regular, and for God’s glory.
Why should you go to church?
Surround yourself with wise Christians
“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”Proverbs 13:20
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
The Bible, and especially the book of Proverbs, repeatedly tells us the value of being around other Christians, and especially wise Christians. Church is a fantastic place to do that. It brings together Christians of a range of ages, experiences and maturity in faith; and places them together to worship God, and to experience life, together. These may not be the people that you would naturally choose to spend time with, but they are your brothers and sisters in Christ and they can be an incredible source of wisdom and biblical guidance.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”Acts 2:42-47
“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”James 5:13-16
The Bible shows us a number of wonderful models for a Christian community. This is a community that prays for one another, celebrates each other’s successes, confesses their sins to one another, praises God together. Being a part of a church family allows us the opportunity to be a part of this kind of biblical community. It is different to the kinds of community we see in the world; it is a community full of accountability and correction and worship.
Using your gifts
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”Romans 12:4-8
We have all been given gifts from God, and the church is a perfect place to identify and exercise these gifts to serve God and those around us. Within a church community we get the opportunity to discover our gifts, and put them into practice, whether that gift is serving, teaching, encouraging, leading, all of our gifts have a place within the church family. And as a church, we should be working to encourage these gifts in others, and providing the space for every member of our church family to exercise their gifts.
Teach and be taught
“You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.”Titus 2:1-8
The book of Titus gives us lots of wonderful examples of sharing wisdom amongst the family of God. It demonstrates how each of us need to learn, and how everyone is called to pass on their knowledge to other Christians. The church family relies upon the sharing of, and passing on of, knowledge. Through the word of God, we are called to teach one another and pass on wisdom. This is something that you want to be a part of!
These are just a few of the wonderful reasons that you should go to church! What other reasons can you think of?
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”Matthew 18:20
Dear God, thank you for church. Thank you for this family that we are all a part of: your children. Thank you for the opportunity to meet together, worship you together, serve you and our community together, pray together and learn together. I pray that everyone has the opportunity to go to church and takes that opportunity with enthusiasm and joy. Be with those who find church difficult, help them to see the value of church again. Amen.