By Jeff Arnette
From time to time I am asked this straightforward question, “why should I go to church?” Believe it or not, most often it’s Christians who ask this question. Typically, this question comes up because you invited someone to church.
This is probably a friend or loved one who hasn’t been to church in a while and you are genuinely concerned for them. I would even bet that you hope they could experience the love, fellowship, sense of belonging, and awe of coming into the presence of God to worship. I would bet that you want them to feel the spiritual boast that you personally feel when you go to church services.
This person hasn’t been to church in a long time, you genuinely want to see them at church, and you really care about their life. So, you carefully approach them and say, “Hey _____, it’s good to see. We have missed you at church lately. How are you doing?”
Let me say upfront that most often when you ask someone about church or say to them, “I missed you at church,” they hear something totally different from what you are saying or meaning to convey to them. What they hear is “I was at church! Where were you?” They hear, “I’m judging you! You’re a horrible person! Why haven’t you been to church?” You are trying to convey love and concern but they only hear judgment and being pressured into doing something they don’t want to do. This is not always the case but more often than not it is how they feel.
So, let me challenge you instead to ask about their life. Ask them how things have been going. Don’t tell them you missed them. It might be true but typically they will not believe it. Instead, of saying I miss you and you are important to me show them by spending time with them.
So, why would anyone want to go to church? You really do need to know this because you will be asked. If it hasn’t happened already it will happen eventually.
First, let me say that the greatest motivation is not about rules. It’s not because God says to go (It’s true but those who are weak don’t really care about that) but because of the mutual benefits we will all gain from it.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not 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.” (Hebrews 10:24–25, ESV).
The point of this passage is so much bigger than God says you have to go to church. The point of this passage is much greater than simply keeping the rules. First, notice that the writer tells us that stirring up one another to love and good works happens when we assemble together. In fact, he says that we should give considerable thought to how we will do that. Second, he says don’t neglect meeting together instead we are to encourage one another.
The goal and reason for going to church is not because God demands it but because when you attend church services its beneficial for you. You will be strengthened, encouraged, feel the love of the Lord’s people, and given the opportunity to do good works for others. Living the Christian life is not meant to be lived alone but among the Lord’s people within the church.
Why should you attend church? Because it’s good for you and will make your life better.
- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://centralhaywoodchurchofchrist.com