I believe that inside every human heart is a longing for authentic relationships. I understand that there are different personality types, but whether we are extroverts, introverts or somewhere in the middle, all of us long for relationship.
I do not believe that there can be a church-less Christian. In my view, no person can sustain a long term relationship with God and not be connected to a community of like minded believers. Yes, I understand there are people who are imprisoned for their faith and have no connection to any Christian whatsoever. In such dire circumstances, I believe God meets with those believers in special ways and He sustains them through those periods of isolation. But for us who live in a country where we can freely worship God, we have to make going to church a priority.
So why do I go to church? Here are 7 reasons why I feel it is important to go to church:
1. The bible exhorts me to go to church: Hebrews 10:25 says 'And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near'. Such great advice! The writer of this book knew the importance of believers gathering as a community so that we could encourage each other in our faith.
2. Going to church inspires me to live a godly life: When I go to church and listen to the preaching of God's Word, and share in praise and worship it encourages me to live for Jesus 24/7. Every time I listen to God's Word being expounded it inspires me to go back to where I live and work and to live my life well. The church is the place where I learn values and the importance of the values being deeply instilled in my life.
3. Going to church encourages me in my Christian walk: When I am discouraged I don't stay away from church...no, I go to church. Why? Because I need to be encouraged by the praise and worship of God's people. I need to listen to God's Word so that I can be exhorted to keep going. I need the community of God's people and their love to challenge me in my moments of discouragement.
4. I need like minded friends: Yes, we all have friends and family outside of the community of faith, but I need good friends inside that community as well. I need the kind offriends that will hold me accountable and care for my spiritual well-being. In the most difficult times of my life, my church friends have helped me and challenged me to live my life more intentionally.
5. I need to be accountable to godly leaders: When you belong to a great Christian church and you get locked into that community the leaders should hold you accountable. I think it is amazing that a pastor would take the time and trouble to point out where I am failing or slipping. Get connected to a small group so that you have a place of accountability, and this is especially true if you are part of a very large community.
6. Going to church is good for my soul: truth be told, there are some days I would rather sleep in. There are other times I would rather stay and listen to a sermon on the web in the comfort of my living room. But, I don't because I know that regular attendance to one church and one community is good for me and I want what is good for my soul. I also need the discipline of belonging to a community.
7. It's the best thing I can do for my family: There is no greater community to belong to than the church. When you are in need the church is the most wonderful and supportive community ever. Ask me! When my son had his accident it was our church family that help to sustain us and see us through our darkest hour. In times of need, in the midst of pain, during those moments of loneliness the church has been there for me and my family. The best and greatest gift we can give to our families is to lock them into a loving and caring community of God's people.
So, these are the reasons as to why I go to church on a regular basis.
If you are discouraged with church, have been hurt by people or have been disappointed by your leaders, then either find a way through your problem by speaking it out with the people who have failed you and hurt you or pray that God will connect you to a godly community that can assist you in your Christian walk. Don't make excuses—that is lame and will not help you or your family.
We should make going to church and serving God our priority—there are too many things out there competing for our attention and the attention of our children and young peopleWhen children and young people are going through challenging times in their later years what will grab their attention? Will it be church? Sport? Friends? Unwholesome activities?
I believe we get to have a huge part in how their destiny will be shaped, so make serving God and going to church a priority, it could be your life line in the years ahead.
I am and always will be,
recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,