I think I’ve heard most of the excuses. “You don’t need to attend church to be a good Christian.” “We give our family priority when we miss church to do sports on Sunday.” “My church really doesn’t meet my needs.” “I’m not getting fed at my church.” “Sunday is really the only day we have off.” “My church has a bunch of hypocrites.”
Why is it important for us to attend church services regularly?
- The local church is God’s plan in the New Testament. From the founding of the first local church in Jerusalem to the growth of new congregations throughout the Roman Empire, the New Testament is clear. God wants His people gathering regularly and faithfully. And lest we forget, all of these congregations had problems. All of these churches had problem people, but it was not a valid excuse to give up the local church.
- The Bible clearly indicates the priority of local congregations. If you read the New Testament from Acts to Revelation, you will see that a gathered people was not just one important factor for the Christian, it was one of the highest priorities. After the ascension of Jesus, the local church is truly “the body of Christ.”
- We are commanded and designed to enjoy worshipping the one true God as a gathered community. What if church members really did one thing in worship services? What if they asked God to let them see Him and know Him fully as the church is assembled? What if that was the priority over evaluating the quality of the singing? What if that was more important than the preacher preaching five minutes more than you deemed appropriate?
- A unified church can stand strong in a culture turning away from God. We can’t be a unified church with sporadic attendance. We can’t stand together if we aren’t persistently gathered together. Do you remember how the early church in Jerusalem reached a culture opposed to God? The outside world saw the unity and joy of the church and wanted to know more about this Jesus they worshipped. Remember, they were “praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those were being saved” (Acts 2:47). A faithfully attended church is a unified church.
- The world looks at our priorities and evaluates what we deem as important. We can’t expect the community we serve to get excited about our church if the members of the community see it to be a low priority among the members. The twice-a-month attendees make the church an afterthought. The once-a-month attendee seems to hardly think about the church at all.
- Families that attend church faithfully and regularly are happier and healthier families. The research from the secular world is overwhelming. Study after study shows that families who are in assemble with the church almost every week are among those with the best-adjusted children. Marriages are healthier. Small children grow to become mature and joyous adults. Though these studies are affirming, we can see throughout the New Testament how God has a clear and compelling plan for His children and their families to gather together regularly and faithfully.
We are neither obedient nor are we able to experience the full joy of our church if we attend once or twice a month or even less. Faithful weekly church attendance is important. It brings us joy. It helps us to grow spiritually. It is one of the primary characteristics of a healthy family. Above all, it is an act of obedience to God. And that’s what really matters.
Thom Rainer (adapted by Mark Johnson)