“Do we have to go to church!?”
If it was possible to add a whining sound effect to typed text, I would have done it there. If forced to choose just one person for the sound effect it would not be a child, but a fully grown, “I work hard all week so let me sleep in on the weekends,” watch sports, and just leave me alone man. Men in our country are the worst at leading their family to church and, honestly, if dad is asking “Why do we have to go?” more times than not the family “ain’t going.”
To be honest, most of the fault for people not wanting to come to church falls on the church. In most cases churches have become holy huddles where outsiders are advertised to come, but when they walk through the doors it’s clear they are not welcome. Poor communication of the Bible, tepid kids programming, and dated worship sung by out of tune singers would cause me to run to the exits too.
As a pastor I want to apologize for those experiences. We need to do a better job as the church to make the God of the Bible come alive for kids and adults alike. In order to have God do what He does best, I believe we need to give Him our best as a church and provide environments, teachings, and experiences that He inhabits and that you want to come back to.
So why do we go to church then? Does God want me to go to church?
Is God so narcissistic that He needs people to come and tell Him how great He is every week? Isn’t God everywhere, so can’t I have “church” in my head while I shop for groceries at COSTCO?
Scripture says God doesn’t need our worship because if we decide to miss out on the opportunity all of nature is chomping at the bit to give Him praise. So, clearly if the inanimate can’t wait to praise him, the animate which He sent His Son to die for should not be able to contain themselves when given the chance to worship Him. Especially with other believers!
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 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 10:23-25
I believe the writer of Hebrews frames the “why” perfectly for us to see our need to go to church.
First, what we process is that Jesus is Lord, died for our sins, and is the only reason we have eternal hope. That alone should drive us to want to be in His presence, but sadly our humanness prevents us from sticking to anything for more than 5 minutes, even our worship of God.
Because of our ADHD humanness, we see that God says we need each other to stay focused. He wants us to encourage each other along in this life through love and demonstrating that love by doing something with what we know.
Finally the way He designed this all to happen is by being in the habit of meeting together. By connecting. By worshiping. By coming together as the church.
Honestly the consequences of not doing this are heart breaking. If we don’t have someone we are walking alongside, we will slip. We will stumble. We will fall and being by ourselves we will be left to pick ourselves up.
Ever been there?
Ever felt alone, dizzy, and scrambling to make sense of your life as you rub your head from yet another fall? Sure…we all do.
God’s solution for this is community…it’s His people…it’s the church.
We need the church as much as we need air because without it we will die. It’s what fills our souls with God’s air of refreshment, encouragement, and nourishment. Dare I say it is “minty” fresh!
In all seriousness, we all could think of a reason or 50 not go to church each week. If I’m honest, the lake sounds great to me too some Sundays. But knowing that I have a standing weekly meeting with a God that will fill my spiritual lungs, encourage my soul, and allow my worship to bring Him joy is too powerful to pass up.
God doesn’t “need” my worship to sustain Him, but I need to worship Him to sustain me.
THE SPIRITUAL SHORT:
Why Do I Need To Go To Church? – The church is the reconnection point designed by God to rally His children, preach the Gospel to the lost, and allow for corporate praise too Him. It is the object of Christ’s affection and should be sought after by His children as urgently as the air we breathe.