The Importance of Going to Church Lies in the Bible
Have you ever heard someone say “I don’t need to go to church to be a Christian”? Maybe you’ve said this yourself. While it is certainly true that we are saved by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and not by going to church, scripture shows us over and over the importance of connecting with other believers through regular participation in the church.
The writer of Hebrews reminds us of the benefit of meeting together, saying, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:25, NIV), and the early disciples took this instruction to heart. Even before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2), the disciples could be found gathered together, just as they had during Jesus’ earthly ministry. Below, we will explore other Biblical reasons for maintaining our participation in the church.
Jesus Connected with the Father and with Others
Throughout his earthly life, Jesus could regularly be found at the synagogue, gathered with others for the purpose of reading and teaching the scriptures. Luke 4:16 tells us that going to the synagogue on the Sabbath was his custom. Worship and communion with the Father were central to Jesus’ life. By maintaining communion with the Father through the synagogue, Jesus participated in the life of God’s people, seeking the Lord in the scriptures, reading, teaching, and sharing with those gathered.
Even apart from his presence in the synagogue, Jesus conducted his ministry with the assistance of his twelve disciples and countless other helpers. They shared meals together and enjoyed the private teaching and wisdom of Jesus. Reminding them of the importance of continuing to meet and minister together, Jesus taught his disciples in Mathew 18 that “where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” In community, as the gathered church, we experience the power of God’s presence.
Christ Has Called Us to be His Body
Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” And we need to remain sharp, because we are God’s instruments, mean to carry out His ongoing work in the world. Paul describes our work as having many roles, which require different parts to perform different functions. None of us can do everything, but each of us can do something.
Just like a body has different parts, Paul says, with different functions, the church is one body made up of many parts. Each member is gifted in a different way and made for a different assignment, but we are all necessary and useful for building and strengthening the church. Apart from the body, a hand or a foot can’t do much at all. But connected to the body, it fulfills its purposes and contributes to the work of the whole body.
So through the church, we maintain our connection with God as we mature in our faith and knowledge, gaining encouragement from other believers. Further, the church is also the place where we live out our faith through our service to God and others as participants in the body of Christ.
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