Monday, June 8, 2020

I’m a Christian … But Do I HAVE to Go to Church?

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.”

– Hebrews 10:25

Around 70% of Americans identify as “Christians”—but less than 30% attend church on a regular basis. If that statistic doesn’t surprise you, it’s probably because it hits close to home. You might be saying, “Sure, I’m a Christian, but I don’t go to church very often.” If that’s true of you, you’re not alone. When asked, Christians give a lot of reasons for not going to church: Some believe the church to be expendable (take it or leave it). Many Christians simply say, “I don’t go, because there are hypocrites in the church.” And others say they have a hard time finding a good church close to home.

That being the case, there has been one silver lining to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. By placing their services online, churches have made worship more accessible than ever before. For Christians who say that they prefer to worship God at home, online services make that easier than ever. I admit, I’m a big fan of our online services at Impact Christian Church. Over the past two and a half months, we’ve been able to reach hundreds of people who would have never visited one of our live services. These services have helped lead to four baptisms. And our members have been able to receive a steady diet of God’s word each and every week.

So, as our church returns to offering live services tomorrow, some attenders may be wondering: “Do I have to go to church?  Wouldn’t it be okay with God if I just continued to stay home and caught an online service when I have the time? Do I really need to attend a live church service each week?” Well, if we check with the pure source of truth—God’s word—we can see five reasons why believers and followers of Christ need to get back to church A.S.A.P.  
Reason #1: The example of Jesus. Luke 4:16 tells us, “[Jesus] went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom.” Some people say, “I don’t need to go to church, because I’ve already heard all that stuff before. I’m not being fed.” Well, imagine being Jesus. Do you think that when he went to the synagogue each Saturday, the rabbis were telling him anything he didn’t already know? Of course not! Jesus is the all-knowing Son of God. If anyone ever should have gotten an excused absence from church, that person was Jesus. But Jesus’ “custom,” Jesus’ practice, Jesus’ priority was to attend a service in the synagogue each and every Sabbath Day. It was a priority for Jesus, so it should be a priority for Jesus’s followers as well.

Reason #2: The Bible says so. In Hebrews 10:25, it reads: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.” Millions of Americans who call themselves Christians have either put the church on the back burner or given up on it entirely. And this is not a new thing. The early Christians experienced the same problem 2,000 years ago. Christians got complacent. Christians became lazy. Christians didn’t think they needed the church. And Christians didn’t think the church needed them. But God’s word tells Christians in all times and places to make “meeting together” with the church a priority. Why? Read on.

Reason #3: Christianity isn’t just about getting; it’s also about giving. Back up a few verses and take a look at  Hebrews 10:22-24: “Let US live out our faith. Let US hold onto hope. Let US encourage each other to love.” These verses aren’t focused on “me” or “you.” It’s all about “US.” Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe says it so well: “Fellowship with God must never become selfish. We must also fellowship with other Christians in the local assembly… The emphasis here is not on what a believer gets from the assembly, but rather on what he can contribute to the assembly. Faithfulness in church attendance encourages others and provokes them to love and good works.” Our faith isn’t about just “me and Jesus.” Our faith is about “us and Jesus.” So, let me ask you: What is missing in “CH_ _CH”? U R. 

Reason #4: You will benefit from community. It’s true that the church needs you. But you need the church community every bit as much as it needs you. Sure, other Christians in the church need your love, encouragement, service, teaching, kindness and compassion. But to be a healthy, growing Christian, you need every one of those things from us as well. You need love and encouragement in your Christian journey. You need the service and teaching that the church offers, and the kindness, compassion and loving accountability that are so hard to find in the world today.

Reason #5: For your marriage and kids. You may have heard the often-quoted statistic that Christians have the same divorce rate as nonChristians. But that statistic is misleading. You see, most studies don’t take into account whether or not surveyed Christians attend church. Interestingly, other studies show that husbands and wives who prioritize church attendance are up to 35% less likely to get divorced. So, church attendance is very healthy for our marriages, and it’s also very healthy for our kids. The church will partner with you to help shape your kids’ character and help lead them to a saving knowledge of Christ. It will help them discover their spiritual gifts and develop a heart to love and serve God and people.

So, especially at those times when God feels a little bit distant and your faith feels a little bit stale … make church attendance a priority. Experience the blessings that come with standing side by side with believers and followers of Christ. Get back to church.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our LIVE outdoor worship services Sundays at 8 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. at Live.GreaterImpact, on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

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