In recent times I skipped church. If I went this Sunday, something would happen, and I would miss the next one. You can trust the devil to bring up other alternatives to going to church and make the question “Why should I go to church?” a recurring one in my mind. So instead of simply falling in his hands and becoming a non-church goer I decided to do a bible study and answer the question.
Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling episunagwgh <episunagoge> of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (NKJV)
What is the church?
When you hear the word Church, what comes to your mind? Like many people I had never taken the time to understand this word. The English word church is translated from the Greek word episunagwgh <episunagoge> which means a Christian meeting (for worship); assembling (gathering) together.
According to Albert Barnes commentary, “The verb is used in Mt 23:3 Mt 24:31; Mr 1:33; 13:27; Lu 12:1; 13:34, in all which places it is rendered gathered together. It properly means an act of assembling, or a gathering together”
We can define church as a gathering of Christians together usually for worship irrespective of where it is done. We can have church in someone’s house, on the street, in a building etc. so while Church doesn’t mean the building, if you have chosen to gather with a group of people at a location, that’s your local church. Therefore, it’s not possible to have church alone, online, through web or TV.
Live-streaming a service is not equal to going to church…as going to church means going to gather with other Christians for the purpose of worship. Where there is no gathering, church has not happened!
The church i.e. gathering of believers is the body of Christ.
Eph 1:23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself. – NLT
And while we are all individuals in different places, doing different things; God expects us to gather as one in fellowship consistently. You can’t be the body of Christ standing on your own and refusing to be part of a gathering of believers as the Bible also tells us to be members of one another i.e. in fellowship with one another.
Rom 12:5 “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.”
Why should I go to church?
Church can be seen quite clearly from the time of Jesus; wherever he went, he got a gathering of people and then taught, fed and healed them. In the book of Acts, it was recorded that the gathering of Christians increased daily and it was usual practice for someone to join one of such gatherings after they became born again.
Acts 2:47 “…praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (NKJV)
The letters of Paul (except for Timothy, Titus, Philemon) were written to a gathering of people, a local church. (1 Cor 1:2, Gal 1:2, Eph 1:1, Phil 1:1, Col 1:2, 1 Thess 1:1) It’s not an error that Paul carefully spells out in each letter who the intended audience was.
While salvation is personal, our Christian religion is social and can’t be done in isolation!
The Bible teaches us that we can do more in fellowship with others than alone.
Ecc 4: 9 – 12 “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. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
This gem is found in a book called Ecclesiastes which comes from the root Greek word ekklesia meaning church!
I believe it’s a tactic of the enemy in recent times to separate the church and cause sheep to go without a shepherd. When you are alone, its is easier for you to get involved in various temptations, neglect God, forget to pray or read your bible etc. whereas if you are in fellowship with other believers, it aids your spiritual life as they can spur you along.
God has appointed people specially to the task of making sure you are fed on a consistent basis.
1 Cor 12:28 “And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.” (NIV)
Yes, God does speak to us all and we are able to hear from God, but God has also set people to provide direction, wisdom and governance over us as the body of Christ in the Church. Choosing to separate yourself means you are refusing the government of those people.
We need the manifestation of all the spiritual gifts and offices to live a fulfilling and balanced Christian life.
Eph 4:12 – 13 “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (NLT)
You may be able to speak in tongues, but can you perform miracles? Do you have the word of wisdom? Can you discern spirits? Even if you have all the spiritual gifts operating in you, you are acting selfishly to keep it all to yourself. The purpose of the gifts in the church is for mutual edification of one another. The gifts you have you are supposed to use in a church to help others.
1 Cor 12:7 “A spiritual gift is given to each of us, so we can help each other” (NLT)
You can’t claim to be part of the body and not relate with other parts of the body and do your part to ensure the entire body is flourishing. The church needs you! We need each other, that’s why we are called the church, a group!
If everyone choose to stay at home, who would you live-stream?
So, do you need the church? A resounding and very loud YES!
Why do I need to go to church? You and I need the church for mutual edification, for fellowship, for communion, to enjoy the benefits set aside for the church, to strengthen and challenge us to live better for God, to do more spiritually than we can do alone.
Christians should regard it as a sacred duty to gather together for the worship of God.
What church should I go to?
While all Christians all around the world make up the church, you need a local gathering to be a part of regularly. Pick a church based on the leading of God and not based on proximity, charisma of the pastor or crowd mentality. It’s sad but true that there are a lot of churches built on other doctrines not set forth in the bible; so you must be careful, and spirit led when choosing a church.
I currently attend Covenant Christian center. I was led there over 5 years ago and started attending it even when I lived outside Lagos.
Practical tips for going to church regularly
Here is my growing list of practical tips to ensure church attendance every Sunday
- Prepare a day before. Decide you are going to church tomorrow, pick your clothes, sleep early and set an alarm. Multiple times I have let indecision about what to wear to church, stop me from attending service.
- Have an expectation and pray about the service. Before attending any service, pray about it and ask God specifically for what you hope to get from it. You would be more willing to go to church if you have tangible results, so ask!
- Go with someone. 2 are better than 1 No!? When you have agreed with someone to go to church together, it raises the stakes and makes you more focused on going.
- Have a backup. There are days when I genuinely woke up late (well because I didn’t apply Tip 1) and those days, I could still have dressed up and attended another service in my church, but I just chose to stay home and livestream. If you create another option for yourself e.g. another service time or another church etc. it makes going to church more flexible.
- WWJD. Even our lord and saviour, Jesus Christ, the son of God went to church…Who are you again? The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
- Get involved. The most sure-fire way of ensuring church attendance is by throwing yourself into the church and participating. Become a member, go through the membership class, volunteer for a program, join a department, take up a role. Do something! This way you don’t just attend church, you become a part of it!
P.S. I am not shooting down live-streaming service. It is a good and viable option for when you can’t physically make it to church for various reasons. Live streaming has brought the gospel to more people than can fit into a church. I personally relied on live-streaming at a point in my life when I was too depressed and scared to go to church (post for another day).
However, live-streaming should not replace attending church service!
God bless you.
I host a group of women in daily fellowship here