This is the last post in the “Why Even Go to Church” series. In a culture where church attendance has fallen below 20% in any given week, it seemed to me that it could be helpful to review why going to church is central to following Christ. If we’re Christian, it’s a list of reasons we can tell children, or recite to ourselves on Sunday mornings when we did something dumb till three in the morning. If we’re not Christian, this series has addressed why checking out a church could still be a good idea.
Before a review, I’ll cover the tenth reason : Going to church is the best way to save the world. If you go see “Deadpool”, or ”Batman v. Superman,” it would be easy to think that the best way to save the world is to beat the crap out of your enemies while wearing a stretchy costume. If you listened to campaigning presidential hopefuls you would believe that getting behind one really arrogant candidate is our only hope.
Clearly, people suck at saving the world. Here’s how God saves the world: he comes down to our level, lives with us, dies for us, comes back to life (really, not like video games) and breathes his Spirit into everyone who believes in Him. Then, filled with the Spirit of Jesus, we get together and do what he did.
The New Testament makes it really clear that the church on earth is the body of Christ – God’s means of getting it done. We commit to life together in communities called churches and we worship, preach, heal, baptize, serve, teach, and disciple more people into the life of Jesus. We function in his power, not ours. We work for God’s good kingdom, not our own. We’re all in it together with different giftings. We all matter but there is no room for show ponies. Arrogance and stetchy costumes are not necessary.
So, here’s our review of why we go to church (even when it’s snowing, even when we’re sick of people, even when we feel like binging on Netflix):
- We only know what we know together – we can’t live out our beliefs without social reinforcement.
- You can’t love people you never see – showing up is the first step to being part of a community of love.
- We desperately need a weekly dose of beauty to soothe, heal and renew us.
- Church is a giant baromenter for sins; nothing brings clarity and conviction faster than attending a worship service.
- Church attendance is good for our mental and physical health; many studies bear this out.
- Church is a place for unbelievers to check out Christians and ask questions; we should be there for that.
- Church is where we sing together and singing together is empowering and healing.
- Church is where we have communion, the ritual that centers us in Jesus.
- Church is the centerpiece of the Sabbath, that essential day of rest that lets us reboot.
- Church is God’s primary institution for saving the world.
Thank God there are all kinds of churches, from Gothic Cathedrals to bars rented on Sunday nights. All kinds for all kinds of people. If you don’t go to one, it would be good to ask God to show you where you fit. I did that when I was sixteen and found a sweet group of people meeting in a rented hall a half mile from my house.
So, see you in church!