Do I have to go to church?

Why Worship Is Still Relevant in the 21st Century

Let’s be honest:  There are a lot of reasons (maybe excuses) for why we don’t show up to worship.  For some of us, it’s the only day to sleep in after a busy week of working.  For others of us there are kid’s basketball games to go to.  Our friends want to meet us for brunch.

And, after all, can’t we spend time with God on our own, on our own schedule?  Can’t I pray without driving to church?  Can’t I read the Bible on my own, when I want?  I don’t need all the pomp and circumstance we might tell ourselves.  Isn’t God with me all the time, not just when I drive to a building for an hour or two?

Yes, yes, and yes to all those things.  We can pray anytime (and we should!)  You can read the Bible on your own, whenever you want (and you should!)  God is with you all of the time, wherever you are (praise God!).

But, the mature disciples I know don’t use those amazing realities as excuses.  Instead, they continue to follow God’s command to “Don’t stop meeting together with other Christians, as some are in the habit of doing” (Hebrews 10:25)

The mature Christians I know recognize that they need two things:  First, they recognize that they need their brothers and sisters (the Body of Christ).  The first century pastor, apostle, missionary, and church planter named Paul knew this.  In 1 Corinthians 12 he compares the Church to a human body.  He recognized that every part of the human body is necessary.  Some parts might seem to be more important, but even the “insignificant” parts are vital (even more than we realize).  Paul’s point is that we need other Christians.  Because we are all on in Christ.  We need the gifts of those around us.  Life without each other just isn’t the same.

We would all like think of ourselves as fiercely independent.  But, that’s not how we were created.  We need the encouragement of our brothers and sisters.  Sometimes, we need to be challenged and called out.  We need to hear from other Christians that we are loved and forgiven.  We need the Church to teach us when we get off track.

The second thing that the mature Christians in my life recognize is that there are gifts in worship that we need.  These gifts aren’t always found only in worship, but they are there.  Our worship is filled with God’s Word which declares us to be His beloved children.  In worship the promises of God are sung, read, recited, and heard.  In worship we receive Christ for us in The Lord’s Supper where we are reminded of God’s sacrifice, experience the nearness of Christ, and receive anew His forgiveness and life.  In worship we are strengthened for our journey of life.

For six days we live in a broken world.  We are pulled here and there by temptations and the lies of Satan.  A lot of us get worn out and tired.  And then we come to worship.  And we are given words that we otherwise wouldn’t have.  We are filled and fed.  We are nourished and strengthened.  We take part in our weekly family reunion, surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ.

So, yes, worship is still relevant.  As much as ever.

*Here’s a related article I wrote called, “Why I keep going to worship”

If you’ve liked what you read, check out my book called, “Growing Up:  In, with, and under Jesus” on Amazon

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