Monday, February 18, 2013

Why Do You Go to Church?

Photo credit: Silent Shot

Growing up we went to church "every time the doors were open." That meant twice on Sundays and once on Wednesday evenings. I never questioned why we went; I simply did as I was told, believing that regular attendance was a necessary part of being a Christian. 

As you may imagine, though, my heart wasn't always in the right place because I didn't understand why I was there other than "to worship God." 

To me, the church was a building where Christians met to worship together. I didn't understand that the church is the Church, that is, the body of believers who meet together because of their mutual love for the Lord. Instead, I went to church for a variety of different reasons.

Reasons Why I've Attended Church Over the Years

At times I have attended church out of compulsion
  • My parents made me go.
  • "It's what I do on Sundays."
  • I felt guilty for not going.

Other times I went to church out of fear of losing my salvation and going to hell.

But there have also been times when I attended church out of an earnest desire:
  • To be part of something bigger than myself
  • To attain Godly wisdom & understanding
  • To encourage & be encouraged by other saints
  • To serve those in need
  • To teach children about God's love for them

My Shifting Feelings

As I have grown and matured both physically and spiritually, my feelings toward the Church have shifted. No longer do I go to church out of compulsion or fear. Now I attend church because I see its purpose and my own role within that purpose.

The Church's Purpose

The purpose of Church isn't to sing a few hymns or listen to a good sermon or even to fellowship with other believers, although those are all good things we do there. 

Ultimately, the purpose of the Church is Christ:

15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

As I grow in my faith, I grow in Christ, who is the head of the Church. I have a role to play in making sure that the Church is unified, built up, and working together under Him, for it is only through knowing Jesus that we have the hope of eternal life (Philippians 3:11). 

Why do YOU go to church?

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  1. What a great list of reasons to go to church! I totally agree. And as the kids start asking us why we go even when we don't feel like it, these are the same kinds of things we tell them.

    Worshiping God is a main reason to go, as well as encouraging and equipping each other to be the hands and feet of Jesus during the rest of the week and further our personal walk with Him. We also call out our desire to know and love the people at our church so that the world will know we are followers of Jesus and be drawn to His light. It is such a truer and more compelling reason than "it's just what we do".

    Thanks for the great post!

  2. Tauna, I think I wrote this post because I want to make sure I am telling my kids the real reasons why we go to church. So many times I've heard myself say, "to worship God," and while that's true, I feel it's become my standard answer. There's more involved than worship, although that is a very important reason why we go. I need to tell them the Church's purpose is for our involvement in Christ.

    Thanks for your great comment. It's better written than what I said!

    Blessings to you!

  3. Everytime one of us says, "go to church" my husband replies, "You can't go to church, we are the church." We laugh at his semantics but he makes a great point. Kids (and grown-ups) need to understand that the church is the community of believers and its the place where we grow up into the fullness of Christ. Thanks for a wonderful reminder!

    1. That's funny! And you are right! I agree that this is an important point to teach our kids. They need to know that the Church is the people not the building. They need to see us living out our faith outside the walls of the building. So important! Thanks for sharing.

  4. As always, your blog is inspiring.

    I go to church because I feel drawn to go to church. Because I need older and more experienced Christians to lead me to meat and not just the milk that I have been fed all these years.

    I desire a relationship with God and I desire for my children to want the same.

    1. Thank you. You encourage me!

      I agree. I crave the meat of God's Word and to grow, and I need older wiser Christians to help me. That's when going to church, being with the Church (body of believers) is essential. It's the only way to have that relationship with God we need and crave.

  5. This is a great overview of the many reasons we go to church and the reasons we should. I've done it for all the wrong reasons as well as the right ones too.
    Actually, I think the term "go to church" confuses us (although I use it too)because we think of it as a place instead of a community where we grow and have fellowship and serve.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Bless you,

    1. You're right, Gail. Church is a place of community and fellowship where we serve, encourage, learn, and love. Thanks for your thoughts!

  6. Maybe we should go back to calling meetings because that's what they are meeting together with the church, yah? Great insight! So glad you shared this on T2T!

    1. Thanks, Kathy. I think church meetings sounds good :)

  7. I just wanted to mention too, that when we meet with other believers, it is a respite, a sanctuary from the ungodliness we find in the rest of the world. When we go to church, we recharge for the upcoming days we face without the corporate body of believers.

    1. Jan, that is such a great point! The church is a safe haven from the world, a place where we can rest from sin and evil if only temporarily. It's almost like a pep rally to cheer us on for the rest of the week! Great insight! Thank you so much for sharing.