Christians are part of the Body of Christ, which is the Church. That’s not a beautiful metaphor, it’s a fact. That means we need to commit ourselves to a church so we participate in a local body of believers. Wayne and I have been blessed to belong to several wonderful churches. There are a lot of different kinds of churches with a lot of different styles of worship and different priorities for their members, but God has always led us to the church where He wants us. We don’t entirely agree on worship styles, but we do agree on the importance of attending church.
If we ever had any doubt, these scriptures give a glimpse into what was important to Jesus and to the early Christians. They provide reasons to go to church.
Jesus habitually went to the synagogue on the Sabbath and read the scriptures. Going to church regularly is the first important thing. In our country we are blessed with so many choices that we have no excuse for not attending. But if we lived in a place with only one church and we didn’t like everything about it, we should still attend.
I’ve been to a Bat Mitzvah and a Jewish wedding, so I’ve seen some modern Jewish services, but I don’t know what all happened in the synagogue when Jesus attended. I do know they read the scriptures and talked about them. So Bible reading is important (even if no one brings their Bibles anymore because the scriptures are projected onto a screen).
The early believers gathered on the first day of the week to share the Lord’s supper. There are lots of traditions about taking communion – how it’s served, how often it’s served, who receives it . . . But it’s something the body of believers does together, so we need to go to church for communion.
Paul preached when he met with the church. I haven’t researched this, but I assume that when he wasn’t there, other people preached. I’ve read that his letters were read at gatherings of believers and passed around the churches. However it was done, believers gathered to hear preaching. We should too.
The early believers took an offering for other churches. Paul advised them to do it weekly when they gathered on Sunday. The offering should be part of the service, but the point here is that churches should care for other Christians who have a need – not just support their own programs. We should go to church to bring our offerings.
To summarize, these are the reasons to go to church:
To follow Jesus’ example
To gather with other believers
To read the scriptures
To take communion
To hear preaching
To bring an offering