By Chris Denning
I grew up in the church, meaning my family attended church together almost every Sunday. I don’t know about you, but there were more Sundays than not (especially when we were young) where my brother and I would moan and whine about going to church.
“Do we really have to go this week?!?”
“Why do we even have to go?!”
While I asked these questions out of selfishness and a desire to sleep in on those Sunday mornings, that is an important question to answer. Why do we bother to gather as believers?
While the answer to this question is not simple and distilling it down to a concise answer may be somewhat of a disservice, my aim is to give you three easy-to-remember reasons why Sunday gatherings matter:
We gather to remember, to encourage, and to grow.
Your grocery list. Your spouse’s birthday. Your kid’s soccer practice. That meeting with that client.
On any given day, we have so many things we have to remember. The pace of today’s world doesn’t help, as there tends to be more and more to keep in mind.
Our brains are like computers, where there is a finite amount of processing and memory power, and sometimes things can slip. Especially things that aren’t screaming for our attention or demand it by their very nature.
If we allow it, we can let the still, small voice of Jesus be overwhelmed by the urgent and seemingly unyielding demands of life.
This is why we take time each week to slow down, and remember Christ and what He’s done. We remember His sacrifice with communion, His greatness with the songs we sing, and His great love by looking into His Word together.
Weight Watchers is arguably one of the most effective weight-loss programs ever. One of their core strategies revolves around weekly meetings for participants.
Sure, there may be some helpful tips and advice provided, and accountability of a group is helpful as well, but why would a simple weekly meeting be so crucial to their success?
Because the main purpose of these meetings is to encourage one another.
Weight-loss can be a long journey, and having others who are on the same journey as you providing encouragement can be life giving. When you want to quit, there is someone there to tell you that they’ve been there, and if they made it, so can you.
The process of sanctification is even more arduous than weight-loss, so how much more valuable is the encouragement of other disciples and from the Word?
Other believers who have been where you are before, who have faced the same temptations, who have had just as bad a week as you have just had can speak life into you in ways you might not have imagined. You may be the one in need of encouragement, or you could be the one to provide that encouragement to another.
This is the beauty of the gathered Church: everyone ministering to and encouraging one another, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Why do you go to the gym? Does simply walking through the doors magically make you thinner and cause your muscles to grow? Do you see results simply by watching others on the treadmills and machines?
Of course not.
If you want to grow in strength and health, you go to the gym and put in the work for results.
While spiritual growth is ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit, we gather as believers to grow our faith and understanding of God. We listen to sermons to gain insights into scripture and to learn about the character and work of God.
Hearing a story about the faith of another believer is likely to increase your own faith. Singing about the security found in Christ with other believers can help us charge another week with renewed spiritual strength.
Also, being in a gathered community with other believers can help you grow by providing people who are wiling to love you and push you towards becoming a more devoted disciple. After all, workout buddies push us to get results we can’t typically get on our own.
We gather each week because it matters.
- Remembering Him matters.
- Encouraging each other matters.
- Growing spiritually matters.