Do you ever wonder if you REALLY need to go to church every week? Here’s some guidance to help you decide.
Sunday morning rolls around and you are faced with two choices: You can get up, get yourself ready, get the kids ready (plus wrangle them into the car!), and go to church, or you can sleep in and enjoy a lazy Sunday morning at home. After a very busy week of working, cooking, cleaning, and shuttling kids around, staying at home in your comfy pajamas sounds pretty awesome, and besides–you can always catch a preacher on television, right? So the question is… is going to church really necessary?
Yes. Actually GOING to church IS necessary. Not only is going to church necessary, but it is beneficial to us in so many ways. Here are six reasons why we should be going to church.
Related post: How Can I Get My Kids Excited About Church?
1. The Bible Commands Us to Do It
“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.” Hebrews 10:24-25
Contrary to popular belief, the Bible isn’t a super old book that is full of rules designed to take the fun out of life. If the Bible commands or encourages us to do something, it is for our own good. God’s plan for us is for us to meet together regularly.
2. We Benefit from Living in Community
“All the believers were together and had everything in common.” –Acts 2:44
The world’s way of doing things is vastly different than God’s way of doing things. The world says “look out for number one;” God says “put others first.” The world says “Do what it takes to get ahead, even if you have to step on others along the way;” God says “humble yourself.” It should come as no surprise, then, that when you take a stand for doing things God’s way, you will often stand alone. And going it alone is HARD.
Maybe you have strong willpower and you don’t care what other people think, but most people prefer to be liked and fit in. Living in community lets us know that we aren’t alone, and that we aren’t “weird.” This is our normal, and we can be proud of it–even if it makes us different, and even if it’s hard.
3. We Are Called to Serve
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” –1 Peter 4:10
It takes a lot of volunteers to keep a church running. Churches need people willing to hold babies in the nursery, supervise youth group activities, lead small groups, greet new people, set out coffee and donuts, and do 100 other tasks that help churches fulfill their missions. Plus, you never know what new person might sit in front of you next week who might need your warm smile, friendly handshake or word of encouragement. When you skip out, they miss out, and as a fellow believer, you have an obligation.
4. Regular Attendance Keeps Us Accountable
“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
When you start attending church regularly and you start building relationships with other people there, these relationships often lead to accountability. Even if you don’t have an official accountability partner, you know that if you miss church, people will notice. If something seems off in your life, people will notice. If you are lucky enough to have strong friendships with other church members, they can help pull you back in the right direction and keep you from heading on the path of destruction.
5. We are Less Distracted
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” –1 Peter 5:8
So maybe you are able to sit down, watch a TV preacher and really pay attention and worship. But let me tell you what would happen in our house: We would turn it on. The boys would play quietly for about 30 seconds, then start pestering each other, then need 100 things, one right after the other. They would talk the whole time. I would probably get on Facebook or try to clean something or think about my to-do list. We would be in “home mode,” and we would be distracted.
That is why it is so important to dedicate one hour a week (or more!) to set aside all distractions and turn our eyes on Jesus alone. When we go to church, we put off all distractions and we focus. Nolan knows better than to act up in church, and we usually have something to keep baby entertained. Church time is for church, nothing else.
6. It Clearly Demonstrates Our Priorities
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” –Luke 12:34
How many hours a week do you spend working? How many hours do you spend cleaning? What about watching TV? Now, how many hours a week do you set aside for Jesus?
It doesn’t matter how busy or tired you are. If you can’t find one hour for God on the weekends, your priorities are out of line. The laundry can wait–it’s obviously not going anywhere. God deserves the best hour of your week, not whatever time you may or may not have left over. If you don’t have one single hour, then it’s time to examine your priorities and make some readjustments.
It all Comes Down To Our Motivation
Honestly, I think the question “Do I really need to go to church” is rooted in selfishness. When we ask it, we aren’t thinking about others or about God, but about our own comfort and convenience.
But church isn’t supposed to be about us. Sure, we can get something out of it while we are there, but church isn’t about us. It’s for us to worship God, get equipped and serve others. Are there other ways to do that? Sure. But that’s like saying your marriage would be just as good if you just talked on the phone occasionally instead of hanging out in person. You wouldn’t do that to your marriage, and you shouldn’t do that to God.
Do you make church a priority? Why or why not? How can you make it more of a priority if you don’t already?
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I feel like the author believes that church only happens, or at least should happen within 4 walls. The 12 didn’t even do that. The verses sited here are way too big, powerful, and beautiful to be contained to one building one day a week. If you’re going to use those verses, then a better title for this article would be “stop using lame excuses to not pursue community. here is why you should prioritize being active in your faith and pursuing relationships around you out of love for God and people”. However if Sunday morning church is the only and/or ultimate place you believe you can meet or focus on God, then this article makes sense, but it also makes the article’s idea of love look guilt-provoked and very small.
Love that title!! Way too long to be practical, but it would be perfect, wouldn’t it? I definitely don’t believe church is just confined inside the four walls, BUT I also don’t believe that it should be confined *outside* of them either. So many people these days call themselves Christian, but it’s just a label that doesn’t really mean anything. If you really want to be a true Christian, then part of that is almost always going to involve attending church. A lot of other things too, of course. But church should definitely be a part of it.
For our family church attendance is really difficult for a couple of reasons. Both my husband and I were raised going to church yet neither of us ever had any sense of community. I dropped out first when our children were small when my then chronic illness was undiagnosed, debilitating and exhausting. Then he wavered around taking the older children until he too dropped out. We really want to start going again but our area is really difficult socially. Unless you fit in a clique you don’t get community. The churches are absolutely no different. 🙁 We fear pushing ourselves through the difficulty of re-forming the attendance habit only to be ignored, again.
I appreciate what you’ve said here about going to church. It’s good to think that dedicating an hour each week to God can help us put off distractions. That would be an island in a sea of tumultuous distractions, for sure.
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