The most common spiritual question that comes my way is: “Why is church important?”. Which, by the way, is a really good question; if someone is saved, why do they need to also go to church?
If the purpose of the church was to save souls, there would be no need to attend church after salvation. But, that’s not the purpose of the church, it is the purpose of the Christian. God charged the apostles with the spreading of the gospel, and the apostles charged the first Christians with the same. It has ever been the responsibility of Christian men and women to lift up Christ that others might be drawn to Him.
If the church is not for the salvation of souls, what is it for?
A church is not a building, it is a body of believers: the body of Christ. If a church was a building, it would have no purpose save being a gathering hall for saints. The church is an institution, a community of believers for the glorification of God and the edification of one another.
Edify- To instruct or improve someone morally or intellectually.
Edification is something akin to encouragement, but deeper, more personal. The church’s main purpose is to join Christians together, to unite them under God. What a group of like-minded believers can do together is far greater than what any one of them could achieve on their own. The support, the encouragement, and the fellowship of believers is an integral part of the Christian life.
Now that we have established the purpose of the church, what reasons can we give others for why they should attend? As churchgoers, we know it’s important to attend church, but sometimes it is difficult to explain to someone else why it is important.
The first reason to go to church is that it is body of Christ. Alone a believer is only one member of the body and has only one function that they can perform. However, when united with other members of the body, they all work together as one.
Think of an ear, by itself the ear is useless, it can hear but cannot see, feel, taste, touch, smell, or go places. By itself, there is not a lot that the ear can do. But, when it joins itself to the rest of a body, the ear finds its purpose in hearing for the body and providing information to the body. In this way, the ear helps the whole group perform great deeds for Christ. Thus, our first reason for going to church is that a whole body is better than any one individual part by itself.
Another reason that Christians should attend church is to have accountability. The pastor of a church is its leader, its shepherd; he, (emphasis), is accountable to God for his flock. The pastor is the channel of God’s conviction and encouragement to his congregation, God speak through him to His people. There is security in leadership, there is accountability in community, and there is refreshment in the hearing of the preached Word of God.
When we enter a community of Christians, we enter into accountability. We will be held accountable by our brothers and sisters in Christ for our actions. It is more difficult to hide sins from people who know you and see you every week. It presses us to live above sin and beyond reproach when we know that others, and God Himself will be disappointed in us when we fail.
Unlike non-Christian friends, Christians will accept you and forgive you even after you fall. We have all been there, we have all felt it, and no one is above sinning every once in a while, or even many times a day. The church is there for you to fall on and to help you back up.
My favorite reason to go to church is because God said to. What more needs to be said? We are commanded of God to attend a local body of believers. Even without having any other reason, that alone is reason enough: “Because the Master said to.” is the answer to “Why go to church?”.
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
The scriptures say to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. That’s church, that’s a body of believers that we should not forsake, not disregard.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Finally, a reason to go to church is because God is there. This verse says that even if it’s just two or three gathered in His name, He will be there. God inhabits the praise of His people. He commands us to praise Him in His sanctuary, which is His temple or His church. I can see why some people avoid church, and I can tell you that nobody is perfect. Some of the meanest people you may ever meet can be found in churches and that’s the fault of Christians discontented with Christ.
Sometimes those spiteful, mean-spirited churchgoers are so unpleasant all of the time because they are only churchgoers. If Christ has not moved into your heart and taken over you life, church is one of the most miserable places on earth for you, because His Spirit is so alive and active there.
If you avoid church because all of the excitement about God makes you uncomfortable, perhaps you should examine your heart. I will tell you, people who have been saved by the grace of God from the clutches of sin, they sometimes get excited; I don’t blame them a bit. To think about what Christ did for us is a cause for joy and excitement.
My question to you is: why? Why don’t you go to church? Do you even know the reason? Then take the answer to that question and ask yourself if that is a problem with the church, or if it is a problem with you.
God wants you to be happy, church is way for that to happen in your life. Whatever the experiences you’ve had with churches in the past, put them behind you where they belong and move on. So, why church? The better question is: why not?
As always, thanks for reading.
—the anonymous novelist