While most churches are still struggling to regain their pre-COVID attendance numbers, it’s been good to think about why gathering with God’s people matters. Here are some thoughts that come to mind:
1. Worshiping together is part of God’s intent in making us relational. He who is relational in Himself as Trinity created us needing one another (Gen 2:18). Worshiping with others is one expression of God’s creative intent.
2. It reminds us that we’re not alone in our Christian walk. Many of us struggle most in being faithful—or worse, in surrendering to temptation—when we’re by ourselves. At least for the worship service, we remember that others are walking the same path with us.
3. Our engagement in worship is encouraging to others. We have learned that it’s great to see brothers and sisters in person. Others encourage me, and I trust my being there strengthens them, too. The unity of heart and focus that true worship brings can help even the most discouraged believer find hope again.
4. Non-believers who see us worship might sense our love and awe of the Lord as we worship and praise Him. This assumes, of course, that lost people are in our churches—but if those who are present sense genuine humility, deep gratitude, and heartfelt commitment to God, perhaps God will use that experience to turn their hearts to Him.
5. There’s just something special about the people of God singing His praises together. No matter what the worship style is, focusing on God and lifting His name together can be a powerful experience. Bob Kauflin puts it this way: “A worshiping community recognizes that passionate times of singing God’s praise flow from and lead to passionate lives lived for the glory of Jesus Christ.”[i]
6. It is in our gathering together that we provoke one another to love and good works (Heb 10:24-25). We do that through other means as well, but encouragement to persevere in faithfulness is one task of the gathered body. Walking arm-in-arm as we serve Him and knee-to-knee as we pray together compel us to faithfulness.
7. The gathering together of the body of Christ to hear from their under-shepherd is a privilege, indeed. A worship gathering is a primary means of corporate discipleship, when the pastor accountable to God for watching over their souls (Heb 13:17) directs listeners to Christ. It matters that we gather.
8. It is what the early church did. Scholars debate the size of their gatherings, but we do know they shared life together—including worship (Acts 2:42-47). Gathering together for them may have been a brief respite from a dangerous world, but it was also a place of encouragement to go out and face that world again with the hope of the gospel.
This article was written by Chuck Lawless and originally published at churchanswers.com on March 15. Thom S. Rainer served as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.