“Do I Need to Go to Church”
By: Rev. Sam Harris
|By: Rev. Sam Harris; ©1999|
|As a Christian, do I really need to go to church? Can’t I worship God adequately as I enjoy the beauty of His creation, say at the lake? Rev. Harris explains the role that church attendance can and should play in the Christian’s life.|
“Do I Need To Go to Church?”
“I am a Christian, but I don’t see the need of going to church. I can worship God when I am out in the woods enjoying the beauty of His creation or when I am fishing on the lake. Friends have told me that I need to go to church. Why?”
There is no question that you can worship God and the beauty of His creation in the woods and on the lake. I have enjoyed great times with the Lord praying as I walk through the woods myself.
God anticipated that we would ask such questions as this, so He has already given us an answer in His Word. I would suggest you turn to Hebrews 10:19-25, the “let us” passages and especially verses 24 & 25 which I quote below from the NASB. Notice that he is talking to “believers” as described in verse 19.
“. . .and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.”
One of the things we learn from Scripture is that we cannot be Christians in isolation. God has a “one another plan” spread throughout the New Testament.
Here is a part of His “one another plan:” encouraging one another to love and good deeds, and you can only do this as you come together, or as the writer of Hebrews says, “not forsaking our own assembling together.” Notice, too, that this is not a suggestion but a command to us.
On a practical basis, let me suggest why I believe that it’s important for you to be in church.
- Church is a staff meeting and Jesus Christ has called us to be a team and to meet with Him. Christ is head of the church, and we won’t feel a part of the staff at all if we aren’t there—we would be of little use to the team. Instead of a staff meeting, you could also consider it like a “huddle” in football with Jesus as the quarterback.
- We need the church because it’s a court hearing. There are things we have done during the week that are wrong and the Lord knows it! He wants a chance to straighten us out. We’re accountable to the Judge of all of life for our actions.
- The church is a family reunion. Jesus said: “Who is my family? Those who do My will.” (Mark 3:33,35). We are a family rejoicing with one another, crying with one another, helping one another. We need each other’s support. We have to depend on each other.
- We need the church because it is a classroom. We are preparing for a mission. We are on an extended course of study. For the rest of our lives, we are enrolled in a course of Christian discipleship. Each week builds on the one before.
- The church can be a hideout. The sanctuary is a place to get away from the “busyness” of the world. It’s a mini-retreat for us. It is a place to relax, to focus our thoughts on things above, to worship God.
- The church is a billboard. Sunday morning is a time for us to proclaim to everyone in our community that God is supreme in our lives. As our neighbors see us get up week after week and go to church “all dressed up”, they can tell Who has priority in our lives.
- The church is a victory celebration. Jesus left the empty tomb. We can celebrate His resurrection together. We set aside special days in the year to celebrate veterans, birthdays of famous persons, etc., we should set aside at least one day a week to celebrate the greatest victory of all, Jesus’ triumph over death and Satan. There also is the promise of His return to some day take us unto Himself.
- We need the church because it is a fellowship, a time spent with our Father. We are children of God, and He is our loving Father. He holds us in His arms and delights to spend time with us, and we should want to be there, with others, enjoying that fellowship.
Why do we need the church? For all of the above reasons, and many more that others might add. These reasons cannot fully happen if we attempt to be Christians in isolation.
I have the privilege of being part of a church that fits the above description so well. I hope and pray that you can find one as well.