When I was a kid the idea that Christians should go to church was a forgone conclusion. However, today many people ask the question: Why should a Christian have to go to church? The proliferation of music and study materials through books, CDs, mp3, videos, online content, social media, and even internet “churches” has rendered actual church attendance unnecessary in the minds of many people. Also, many people’s lives have become so busy and filled with extracurricular activities that church attendance is no longer a priority. Some point to what they call “push play discipleship.” In other words, instead of really teaching and discipling in the church we just play a video and then sit around and talk. Some point to years of emphasizing an individualistic and “personal” salvation experience. As one commentator said, “We tell people that salvation is strictly a personal experience and then we’re surprised when they take that seriously.” Some point to a constant focus on visitors at the expense of nurturing church members. Some even insist that meeting together as a large group in a designated building is not consistent with a Biblical church model. What ever the reason, we find ourselves in a culture where church attendance is no longer seen as necessary or even desirable by many Christians. So why should a Christian go to church?
First, we gather as a church to worship God and our Lord Jesus with one voice. “But wait,” some will say, “I can worship God in my own way on my own time and I don’t need some fancy light show with professional singers to worship God.” The truth is there is only one way to worship God and that is His way. I don’t think God is concerned with styles of music or how many singers are on stage, but the Bible teaches that God desires that His people come together and worship Him in unity with one voice. In the book of Exodus God commanded His people to build a temple where He would dwell among them. Did God have to have a designated building? Of course not. Could God have “dwelled” with each individual person in Israel? Of course He could, but that is not the way He chose to interact with His people because He wanted them to be unified. Today we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and I am certainly not suggesting that the local church building is a temple. However, this principle of God dwelling with His people corporately is presented in the book of Ephesians.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)
This passage only makes sense from a corporate perspective. While the church building is not a temple, the church congregation is! Individual worship is wonderful but it should never take the place of corporate worship. This passage makes it clear that God dwells with His people when we physically gather together in the name of Jesus.
Adam Davis, Senior Pastor FBC Archer City, TX