We live in a society that increasingly seems to disparage church attendance, a sharp contrast to the psalmist who said, "I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go into the house of the Lord.'" (Psalm 122:1).
We’ve probably all heard excuses like: “I’m too busy,” “I’ve been hurt by other Christians,” “Churches are full of judgmental people,” etc.
A few years back, Barna research showed “6 Reason Young People Leave the Church” in response to why three out of every five young Christians leaves the church (temporarily or permantely) after age 15.
Now, going to church, of course, doesn’t save us. It’s trust in Christ alone that saves. But, church is still important for believers and vital to evangelism. Why? Read on.
Spiritual Gifts—Several NT passages make it clear that every believer receives spiritual gives for the purpose of building up the body of Christ (cf. 1 Peter 4:10; 1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12). This can’t be done in isolation. The primary place we use our spiritual gifts is in the church serving alongside other believers.
Certain roles, such as evangelist, are also spirit given: “[He] gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers” (Eph. 4:11).
I don’t know about you, but I am always more encouraged to evangelize when I am around an evangelist. It’s contagious!
The Ordinances—Jesus Christ established two church ordinances for believers: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Communion). Baptism demonstrates to others our union with Christ, and the Lord’s Supper is a form of communion and fellowship with Him. As the church carries out these practices, they remind believers of the gospel message and perhaps even present unbelievers with a symbolic picture.
Hearing the Word of God—While we can and should read the Bible on our own throughout the week, setting aside a time each week to hear the Word of God emphasizes its importance in our lives and helps us grow in our spiritual walk.
Accountability—God put in place spiritual leaders to act as overseers and shepherds of His flock, and He commands us to submit to those in authority so long as they are not leading us into sin or asking us to do something contrary to the Word of God (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1–4). It’s hard to submit to our spiritual leaders unless we regularly are involved with an organized body of believers.
Further, when a believer isolates himself, it often becomes easier to hide or rationalize sin. We need to help each other pursue paths of Holiness. Galatians 6:1 urges us, “Brothers and sisters, if a person is discovered in some sin, you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness.”
Serving One Another—Many passages in the NT give “one another” commands: (1) “wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14), (2) “love one another” (John 13:34), (3) “encourage one another” (1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11), (4) “confess your sins to one another” (James 5:16), (5) “pray for one another” (James 5:16), etc. Going to church should be about more than meeting our individual needs; it’s about serving others.
The Great Commission—We can share the gospel anywhere, but the church is one of the primary modes God has established for taking the gospel message to the world. The Great Commission specifically commands believers to make and baptize disciples, something you’d be hard pressed to do without a church.