a follow-up to last week’s 5-1-1, below is the article that I referred to about going to church. A reminder, this article was written just before COVID hit the USA. Its message is truer than ever! ~Pastor David
Why Is it Important to Go to Church? (Part 1)
God’s Word teaches the importance of active participation in a local church. Believers must make church attendance a priority in their personal and family schedules and put going to church ahead of other seemingly beneficial activities.
Mel Walker, Contributing Writer
There was a time in America when the church was the focal point of a community’s culture and calendar. Families would make it a priority to attend church services and functions almost every time the church’s “doors were open.”
Sundays featured several hours of church programming. The day started with age-segregated Sunday school classes, followed by the church’s morning worship service. The Sunday evening schedule often included meetings for teenagers or a “training union” that transitioned into the church’s evening service. Many families also used Sunday nights as an occasion to “fellowship” with other church families. Most churches also hosted mid-week services, like prayer meetings in the church auditorium, and a structured children’s program, or youth group gatherings on another night of the week.
Factors for the decline in church attendance are varied but include the availability of religious content online, the proliferation of other activities for family members on weekends (like the propensity and popularity of youth sports), and the general increase of a more secular mindset for many Americans.
7 Reasons Why It Is Important to Go to Church
Perhaps it is time for God’s people to recommit themselves to active and regular participation in a local church. Here are seven reasons why it is important for believers to make church a priority in their personal and family schedules.
1. The church is God’s idea and the church is His plan for this age. The most important reason for God’s people to attend church is that the church is God’s idea, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Plus, the church is how God is accomplishing His work on earth today.
The Bible is clear, from the narrative in Acts through the Epistles of Paul, Peter, James, and John, that God’s work in the world today is being completed through His church. One only has to review the words God uses to describe His church to get a glimpse of how important it is to Him: the bride of Christ, the household of God, the body of Christ, and God’s building. The church as God’s plan is something that must be a top priority in the lives of all believers.
2. God’s Word instructs us to be involved in the church. It’s clear from passages like Hebrews 10:25, “…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some…”, that God wants His people to be actively involved in the church. From the account in Acts of the first church in Jerusalem to the seven churches listed in Revelation, it’s obvious that the Bible teaches the importance of local church involvement.
In fact, over 30 specific local churches are mentioned in the Bible and six regions of churches are also listed (Acts 19:19).
3. The church is where God’s people are taught God’s Word so they can grow spiritually. The focal point of local church ministry is to clearly teach and preach the Word of God. The Pastoral Epistles (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus) are teeming with instruction for church leaders on making the Scriptures a priority in the church.
For example, 1 Timothy 4:6 provides clear direction on the importance of an effective teaching ministry, and 1 Timothy 4:2 commands pastors and elders to, “Preach the Word.” It’s true that followers of Christ can and should study the Word on their own; however, learning under the sound preaching and teaching ministry of pastors and other church leaders is imperative for anyone’s spiritual growth (1 Peter 2:2 and Ephesians 4:14).
(See next week’s Midweek for numbers 4-7)