In a culture that minimizes commitment and maximizes self-indulgence, I have learned the precious gift of church attendance or, more specifically, the church gathered. I do not see church attendance as a burden or legalistic commitment. I view it as joy—a place where I can give and serve, a place where I can focus more on others rather than myself.
I could name many, but here are ten reasons I attend church.
- I attend church to serve others. There is so much greater joy in serving than seeking to be served. I have many opportunities to serve when the church is gathered. Those opportunities are my gifts from God.
- I attend church to encourage others. We live in a world of incredible digital communication. But there is still something irreplaceable about gathering together. When I encounter someone in person at church, I have an opportunity to encourage him or her in person as well.
- I attend church to encourage my pastor. I doubt many of us know how much our pastors serve us and love us seven days a week. The least I can do for my pastor is to be there in person when we gather as a church. I know it encourages my pastor, and I want our pastors to have that gift of encouragement every week.
- I attend church to state my priorities. If I am able to go to work, to go to school, to go on vacation, or to watch or be involved in a sport, I can attend church. I desire to have a “no excuse” clause in my life for attending church.
- I attend church to participate in worship. There is something special and Spirit-filled about worshipping together with other Christians. It is both an opportunity and gift I do not take lightly.
- I attend church even if it doesn’t meet all my needs. If I say, “I am not getting fed spiritually,” it likely means I am not hungry spiritually. If my church does some things a bit differently than my preferences, I realize I am there, not as a consumer, but as a giver and one who has been called to put others’ needs before my own. No church is perfect. No worship style is perfect. No pastor is perfect. And neither am I.
- I attend church with frequency, not on occasion. It is my prayer to be in my church every Sunday. When I am out of town, I can find another church to attend. I pray I will never say, “I need a break from church.” I certainly don’t want God to take a break from me.
- I attend church to set an example for my family. Couples have healthier marriages when they attend church. Children grow up with countless benefits because their parents took them to church. I need to show the importance and priority of church attendance to those I love.
- I attend church because the Bible tells me to do so. Two-thirds of the New Testament is about churches, specifically gathered churches. The words of the writer of Hebrews in 10:24-25 are powerful: “And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and more as you see the day approaching.”
- I attend church because I love my church. I love my church. I love my pastor. I love the members of my church. I love the community my church serves. If I love someone, I will be there for them. I truly love my church.
It is becoming increasingly common to see church attendance as just another activity, an option among many, a place to get consumer preferences met, or an occasional gathering to hide in anonymity.
It has become increasingly popular for some to argue that church attendance is not a high priority because the building is not a church, the people are. But those people are supposed to gather. Indeed, they are commanded to gather.
I love to attend church. I attend church for these reasons and many more.
I thank God for my church.
Posted on March 18, 2019
With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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Thanks so much Pastor am really bless by your post more grace and may God bless you increasingly in Jesus name Amen
Wow, I never thought that going to church to attend service would help me encourage others to do so as well. I think I’ll start once I find a church near me so that I can set an example to my family. I’m sure that it will fulfill my spiritual needs, so it’s time that I bring along the children to let them serve God as well.
You know I really like that your post is real. It’s speaks to us where we are without all of the theological talk that was added by some of the comments. I’m writing a series on my blog about staying where God has put you. In it I’m sharing somethings we’ve gone through and how we overcame and stayed in the church God has planted us. I think it is so important to stay and be rooted so we can bear fruit.
I believe we need to look at the context of the scripture. As a pastor in the western world, I know that we place a lot of emphasis on the “church building” as a place to go to gather around religious tradition, whether the tradition of the “plan of the service” or the religious rituals, i.e. communion and the like. However, I think the emphasis is misguided to focus on the mentality of western world in that someone else is doing the study for us to eat one spiritual meal a week and never encourage one another outside that One day a week. We have musicians and singers that “perform” the songs from a platform and, not all but a larger percentage, merely stand or even sit and watch the performance rather than join in the praise and worship of our Savior. The pastor preaches a sermon and over half the church could not even tell you, three days later, what the message entailed.
It says that the people went house to house breaking bread. I whole heartily believe in the western world view of “Church”, but I also believe that everyday should be a day that you could experience any of you 10+ reasons for going the “church”.
The church and it’s staff should be joined as often as possible to be taught, equipped, and prepared to share the Good News. Drop a mike over something God did last week outside the walls of the church building. Celebrate the new babes in Christ and pair up the “apprentices/trainers/ disciple makers/mentors”, whatever you want to call them, and begin the day to day Adoration of God and Christ, Confession of our faults, Thank Him for His goodness/grace/and mercy and making our requests known, beginning with our availability for whatever He would want us to do to spread His gospel. Amen. A building for gathering (church) should be a place to rejoice what God has done through the week, i.e. miracles, (healings and salvations, etc) and a training to share. So everyone should want to come rejoice and get something new to reach the hearts of the lost. The western world would do well to recognize the influence of the “religious” formalities as being a limitation of the far reaching gospel mission. I will say it this way, you do not reap a harvest from a barn, nor do you fish inside a building. We need a gathering place for training, fellowship, and celebration, but the work is in the field. That is our goal. The fields. Let’s freely receive and freely give. For it is better to give than it is to receive. I think our “western world” churches have been turned into “Vegas church minded”. What happens in our churches, in our minds, “stays in our churches”. Answer me this, “all the water enters the sea and none goes out, what do you end up with? Thats right a dead sea. Am I saying that if the gospel has not changed you enough for you to be a tributary, then you will not be able to offer “water that shall cause you to never thirst again” to anyone else. Does this make sense to you.
SD Yeakle, this makes sense to me. If I ever pastored a church I would make at least a 10 mission trip a requirement to be a member. Where a person leaves the comforts of home for that period and blesses people in another part of the world.
When people say, pastor preached a great sermon I love asking what did he/she preach on?What points were made?
Some years ago in preaching on this I made up the only poem of a lifetime to express the wrong attitude: –
One two miss a few
Three four I’ll miss some more
Five six late nights and church do not mix
seven eight I got up late
Nine ten I’ll miss again!
Thanks Thom for an very needed article to remind us of why we come to church and why we should. May our church use this on their website? I would also like to share it via overhead on Sunday if you will give us permission.
Sure. Please give attribution as follows: Thom Rainer (c) 2019. http://www.ThomRainer.com.
Could I have permission to use this one time in our April 2019 newsletter with a byline that it’s by you with your website? Many of our members are not on the internet on a regular basis and I’d like to share this with them. Thanks Celia
Hopefully that people will hear the Gospel preached that they need to be born again. I attended a few different churches growing up, and never heard anyone tell me I needed to be saved. John 3:16. John 3:3.. Eternity is forever, we need to be sure of our Salvation.
If you are ever in Lincoln, Nebraska visit Christ Place Church. People hear the gospel at every service. There may be other churches that do this too; I know this church does.
I attend church to receive God’s gifts to me, not to give myself to others. To hear the words of forgiveness and absolution spoken by the pastor, to hear the Word of God read and rightly preached, and to receive Lord’s Supper, the body and blood of Christ given and shed for me.
Having received as a sinful person ALL of God’s gifts, I can respond by praising him and worshiping him, loving God for all He has done for me and loving my neighbor and community as Christ has first loved me!
Wonderful Article Dr. Rainer! You have put succinctly & more eloquently what has been on my heart to share with my Church community. I plan to share it throughout my network.
Thank you, Garth.