Why Do We Go to Church?

Tomorrow is a big day. I set my clothes aside and attempt to go to bed at a reasonable hour. I can’t sleep because I am thinking about tomorrow and all that is entailed in the day. My multiple alarms go off, I get ready, gather my things and head out the door.

It may sound like I am talking about my first day at a new job, right? Wrong. I am talking about gathering together as the church. I am talking about celebrating together with my family, with those who believe the same foundational truths that I believe. The body of Christ, God’s people, His children gathering together one day out of the week as a large group to celebrate who God is and what He has done for us! This is something to get excited about!

I realize however, that in our society, for a variety of reasons, it is a struggle for many people to have this same excitement about going to church. Yet we were created to be a part of something greater than ourselves, something greater than just our own individualistic lives.  We were created to know and experience God together.

So why do we get up every week and gather together as the church?

1. We gather to remind ourselves of the good news.

We need to be reminded because we are forgetful people. A lot happens in a week! So everything we do at our church gathering reminds us of the gospel. The songs we sing declare the truth about Jesus and His power to save us. The prayers we pray thank God for his loving kindness. The time of giving is a response to the One who has given His very life to save ours. The message that is proclaimed guides our hearts away from lies and back to the grace and truth of Jesus. The time of communion together is a visible and physical reminder of the broken body and blood spilled out for our sins. We tend to wander off like sheep, but gathering as the church is like coming back to the herd once again, which is where we belong.

2. We gather to celebrate our unity in Christ.

How often do we come to church thinking mainly about ourselves? We find ourselves saying things like, “I hope the worship center isn’t freezing cold this time” or “When is his message going to be over, I am starving!” But when we gather, it’s not just about ourselves and our own perspective. Jesus died to bring diverse people together under His lordship with the purpose of bringing glory to God and joy to all people. Realizing this helps us see that the church doesn’t exist to serve our individual wants but rather is an expression of God’s power to unite and use diverse people to carry out the mission of helping people follow Jesus. The consumer says “What can the church do for me?” whereas the missionary says “What can I contribute to the church to fulfill the mission?”

3. We gather to shape the culture of our church.

Language creates culture. As we gather, we are united with a common language and purpose which shapes the culture of our church. At Core Community Church we are first and foremost about believing the gospel. This enables us to worship God, live together as a family and be on mission in our world. It is easy to be shaped by the American culture of the pursuit of happiness or an “every man for themselves” mentality. The church gathers to break the mold of the worldly culture and redefine what a group of believers should live for; the gospel of Jesus.

4. We gather to be equipped for the mission.

The church does not exist for itself. Sunday is not the end. Jesus not only gathers us together, but he scatters us to be good news to our world. Our gathering together equips our hearts and minds for how to follow Jesus in our homes, neighborhoods, schools and places of work and play. God uses our time gathered together so we may be equipped, ready to both be and bring good news to those in our lives.

So what happens when we neglect our gathering?
In short, we tend to…

a. forget who we are in Christ and allow other things to define our identity.
b. believe false gospels that tell us to “work harder” and “do more” for God to accept us.
c. stop caring for one another.
d. become individualistic and self-focused.

I can tell you that I love being a part of something greater than myself. I love gathering with my brothers and sisters to remind myself that I’m not alone. I love my church family because we are united together under the mission of helping Homestead and the surrounding areas know and follow Jesus. I’m not following Jesus on my own and I’m not supposed to.

Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us,  “And let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works, no neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

So set your alarm, and come ready to celebrate on Sunday.  Besides, how can you celebrate when you’re all by yourself? That, my friends, is a pretty lame party!