A growing number of Christians have given up on church. But gathering with other believers is vital.
Here are twelve reasons.
Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another. (Hebrews 10:25 NLT)
We could stop right here. God said it; that’s all we need to know. But God likes us to try to understand his ways, not just blindly follow them. So the next eleven reasons give us some of the “whys” of this command.
Westerners revere the rugged individual. We read the Bible through that lens. However, except for four short epistles, the Bible was written not to individuals but to communities.
An African friend posted a Facebook meme. In the background, a herd of zebras calmly grazes. In the foreground, a lone zebra frantically runs from a lion. The caption reads, “If I’m a Christian but don’t need church.”
Where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them. (Matthew 18:20)
As Christians, it’s incredibly valuable to train ourselves to be aware of God’s presence always and everywhere. In this verse, Jesus promises a different kind of presence, a sense of Jesus himself being among us in a way we can only experience with other people.
As children of our Father in heaven, whenever Christians come together, it’s a family reunion. Think of the best family gathering you can remember— Christmas, a birthday, a wedding. It was a joyful time with people you love. Every Christian gathering should be like that.
The Bible describes several scenes of worship in heaven. The smallest number of worshipers is the twenty-four elders around the throne. As the view widens, we see uncounted thousands worshiping together.
Many churches give the impression that worship is a performance by people up front for the benefit of an audience which is the congregation. In God’s plan, the audience is God, the leader is the Holy Spirit, and the worship team is the entire gathered congregation.
Certainly, we should cultivate a personal attitude of worship. But in the Bible, worship as an act is almost always corporate.
If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. (Matthew 18:19)
This is an astounding promise. Coming together in agreement multiplies the power of prayer far beyond just the addition of voices.
Whether it’s operating a food pantry, helping somebody move, or bringing relief after a natural disaster, our ability to help and serve people multiplies when we’re together. And the more of us who are together, the more we can help.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:20-21)
You can’t love in isolation; you love another person. Patience and kindness and goodness and gentleness can’t exist in a vacuum; you practice them toward other people. We may experience joy and peace and even self-control when we’re alone, but we develop them best in response to other people. All the facets of the fruit of the Spirit are ways of relating. We can only grow and demonstrate the Spirit’s fruit with other people.
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help …. A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9–12)
When we stick with each other, we can protect and support each other. Pull one stick out of a campfire, and soon it will go out. Put it back, and it will reignite. Each of us is one is like a stick in the campfire. We need each other to keep the fire burning.
A mark of many revival movements was small groups of people meeting together for confession and accountability. One would say, “I’m struggling with [describe the issue]. Please pray for me.” Then every week, someone would ask, “How are you doing with that?” It’s amazing how much better you can withstand temptation when you know someone is going to be asking you about it.
These are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
We meet together so the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers can equip us to do God’s work until we all resemble God’s Son. As long as any of us don’t fully resemble Jesus, we can’t stop coming together.
But it’s not just leaders who can equip. Friends on the journey can encourage us, teach us, and help us evaluate what we think we are hearing God say.
The Bible names dozens of different things Christians are to do to, for, or with one another. We’re told to
These are not things you can do all by yourself. The only way to obey the “one-anothers” is to meet together.
These are just twelve reasons why Christians should gather. Which of these resonates with you at this stage in your life? What can you add?
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Bio: After 38 years as a pastor, Dr. Wentz now focuses on writing. Thousands of copies of his first book, Pastoring: The Nuts and Bolts, have been distributed free to train pastors in developing and minority-Christian countries through the Doing Christianity nonprofit, which he heads. David lives in the Missouri Ozarks with his wife, Paula.
You can get a glimpse of David’s ministry and heart at his website: pastordavidwentz.com
Photo credit: https://www.dreamstime.com/illustration/reasons.html
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