There’s a growing trend of Christians who make the claim that because WE are the church, being guilted into “corralling” into a building each week to hear some guy talk about his opinion of the Bible is completely unnecessary. They claim it’s unfair to put these unrealistic expectations on believers because they can “worship” God at home or in a grocery store or on the ballfield. “Church” is simply the people of God and it does not require meeting corporately.
Are they right? Do we even need “Church” or can Sunday be a second Saturday for us? Have we been duped out of extra free time our entire lives?
The first rebuttal that comes to mind are Bible verses, but let’s save the best for last. Instead let’s just use some common sense.
The very word “church” is from the Greek word “ekklesia” which means “called-out assembly”. The dictionary defines “assembly” as “a group of people gathered together in one place for a common purpose:”. That seems to be very straight forward.
Next, have you ever seen a successful branch of the military walk in unison and battle effectively without first meeting and training together? Have you ever seen a baseball team win a World Series game without frequently meeting to practice over and over until they work cohesively? Have you ever seen a business run smoothly without weekly or bi-weekly meetings to get everyone on the same page? I have not. To many, this is common sense. We need to meet together to remember our purpose, to encourage one another and to spur one another on to keep going in this game called life.
Perhaps you are an exception to this. Perhaps you have it “all together” and don’t need anyone else. Have you ever stopped to think that maybe someone else needs YOU? They need your smile of encouragement weekly. They need your hug. They need to see you worshipping Jesus with abandon. Maybe you’re a special kind of person but I am not. I need to gather all together and have my focus renewed. I need to encourage others and be encouraged. I need that kick in the pants to keep going strong when I feel like quitting.
I recently attended a church service at Brooklyn Tabernacle in NY. It consisted of an hour of praising Jesus with songs and then about as long listening to a charge from God’s Word. I remember thinking, “Wow. I wonder if the average Christian could even handle this? So many of us are trained for that exact hour of “worship”. Start stretching even a minute past noon and people start getting restless and eyeing their watches or slipping out early to make it to their favorite restaurant.”
I remember telling my kids at the end of the service that if we had worshipped Jesus for 8 hours instead of 2 hours, it wouldn’t be enough. He deserves so much more than we could ever give Him.
To be clear, corporate worship does not replace your daily time of digging into God’s Word and praying to Him. But it certainly adds to it.
And finally – who could argue with Hebrews 10:25? “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.” (emphasis added)
Or how about the passage in Acts? “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread…”(Acts 2:42, 46a)
Jesus doesn’t NEED corporate worship, but He absolutely deserves it. We could meet 7 days a week and it still wouldn’t be enough. So many churches nowadays meet for an hour a week. One measly hour out of 168 hours we are given weekly.
So why are we wasting our time arguing about corporately worshipping him LESS often? He deserves our best and so much more.