Do I Still Have To Go To Church?

March 23, 2021

In a day and age where we are more aware than ever of scandals, controversies, and just plain, old issues in the church, it might be tempting to abandon the idea of attending church altogether.  After all, I can view a good message from just about anywhere in the world, or watch my favorite worship team online with advances in technology available on almost any computer or smartphone. So, with all these options available to me, why even bother?  

Here are a few reasons attending your local church IS important for us today:

1.  Jesus said he would build the Church.
Consider this account from the book of Matthew 16: 15-18:

“‘But what about you?’  he  (Jesus) asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’

Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’

Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.  And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.’“

What a promise!  Notice here who is doing the building-not pastors, not leaders, not evangelists or missionaries.  The one doing the building is Jesus himself.  Paul echoes this truth in 1 Corinthians 3:7,  where he writes, “So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”  

So if Jesus himself is committed to building his Church, it’s important that we are committed to that same activity.  I want what’s important to Christ to be important to me, too.  

2. The Bible tells me so.
The writer of Hebrews says this in Hebrews 10:24-25:

“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.”

This passage has such relevance to us today.  Instead of “giving up meeting together,” we can gather together, encourage one another, and encourage ourselves as we bear one anothers burdens,  celebrate the joys and successes, and give ourselves to the work of Jesus in the world.

3. I need to be a part of something bigger than myself.
We all want to make an impact.  From every business man  working in an office to teenager wanting to be the next youtube sensation, we all want to leave our mark.  The beauty of the local church is that when each add our contribution to the work of Christ, we can make a bigger impact than we can by ourselves.

In my community we live near a river. It’s just a small branch of a larger river. This small river feeds into a larger river, which feeds an even larger river. My individual contribution could be considered like this small river. If I add my individual contribution to all of the other small, individual contributions, I am part of creating a powerful force that can create a massive impact!

4. I need encouragement to take my eyes off of myself.
Life has a way of directing our  attention to ourselves-our wants, our needs, our issues.  When we are focused on ourselves, it’s difficult to be focused on anything else. Being a part of a local expression of the church reminds us that Jesus is at work in our lives, and in the lives of those around us.  

We see time after time that the disciples faced the same issue that we face-they were worried about themselves, their position, what they would get out of following Jesus.  In Matthew 16, Peter’s declaration that Jesus was the Messiah was so significant because Peter expressed the truth that Jesus was trying to help the disciples to  see-that Jesus is  the  hope  of the world.  

As we gather together and declare God’s faithfulness in worship, as we are encouraged to live for  Christ, and as we give of our time to serve, we see that Jesus is alive and active, he is faithful at all times, and he is still the hope of the world.  

Church IS important. It DOES matter.  By removing yourself from your local church, you harm yourself and a part of your local body is missing. Your unique contribution, your perspective, your service, and your voice are all part of what makes your local church unique in your community. Even with all it’s flaws (it is, after all, made up of imperfect people like you and me), let’s commit to being people that build up the church instead of tearing it down.