Committing to your local church means making a commitment to attend worship services regularly. But what does this mean exactly and why is it so important? In the words of Hunter Beaumont, “If occasional worship becomes your norm, you will not have a heart full of joy in Christ a year from now. I don’t know anyone who willfully neglects public worship and is better off for it. I said that carefully (“willfully neglects”). There are legitimate reasons we have to stay home, usually health-related, and our Lord is gracious to us in these. But if you’re able, now is the time to make corporate worship a regular habit.” The truth is that regular worship attendance matters for both you and for your church family. Here are some of the reasons why.
#1. It’s Biblical.
Acts 2:42-47 gives us a wonderful picture of what the early church was committed to. Here’s how it is described:
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
Do you see that part in the middle about attending the temple together? Even in the earliest days of the church, Christians understood the importance of worship happening frequently and in community. What this looks like today is regularly attending worship together, breaking bread together in communion as well as taking part in community groups or Sunday school. The point is this: being in worship bodily reflects what God wants us to do in his Word.
#2. It’s for the sake of the Body.
It ought never be a burden to attend church, but a joy and encouragement for not only yourself but also for those around you! Hebrews 10:25 says, “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.” When you faithfully attend worship, your presence, voice, hugs, tears, words, and smile all serve the church body. And that’s just by showing up! Our aim is to follow what the Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 6:10: “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
#3. It’s important for your soul.
God uses the church for our good and His glory! God uses the church to help us learn how to be like Jesus; to provide shepherd-pastors for our souls; for support and encouragement in times of need; to send us on mission; to keep us from spiritual drift; to grow us with his Word; and to proclaim the good news of the gospel to us over and over again. If these are the ways that regular worship attendance is good for our souls, then why would we not want to commit to it?
#4. If you are married and/or have kids, it’s good for your family.
A well-known biblical proverb says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Attending worship teaches children through both words (like singing or reading scripture) and action (like bodily presence in community worship) that worship is important. Parents: you have an awesome opportunity to model worship of the Lord to your kids by committing to attend regularly, and then actually doing that! If we could put it in a word picture, we might say that the weekly action of attending worship creates a pattern that over time resembles a path that was laid stone by stone (or week by week).
#5. It honors your pastor(s).
Your pastor loves you and labors for you. He works hard in preaching, studying, praying, discipling, leading, and knowing his flock. One of the ways that we can honor the hard work our pastors put in each week is by showing up to hear from God in his Word through our pastor! 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 says, “We ask you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.” It is a loving thing to regularly attend worship with your pastors who have worked so hard to lead you in worship of the Lord.
#6. It makes a statement in a non-committal world.
Our world is afraid of commitment. Whether it is major or minor, if we need to commit to something (or not), we will probably think twice about it. Therefore, whatever it is that we do commit to makes a statement about our priorities and what we find most important in life. By committing to regular worship attendance, we are declaring to our commitment-phobic world that worship of God with our church matters. Psalm 37:5 reminds us of how good it is to commit to what God commands: “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”
This post is adapted from Mark’s new book, “Why Church Matters: Going all in with the broken yet beautiful body of Christ.” It’s available from Acoma Press.This post originally appeared at Mark’s blog, Preach Lead Love.
Published July 2, 2021