Every week, people from all over the world attend church services. Some meet in church buildings, while others meet in homes. They speak different languages and worship God in diverse ways. But despite their differences, they share a common value—gathering regularly. Why? Why do we go to church? Let’s explore a few reasons together.
What is “Church”?
For many of us, when we think of the word “church,” we think about a building—but it wasn’t always that way. Thousands of years ago, Jesus called His followers together and gave them a mission: to tell the world how to find forgiveness, love, and purpose in Jesus. And that’s what the early followers did.
They told people the good news of Jesus’ love and forgiveness and encouraged people to imitate Jesus’ way of life. These followers didn’t have a building to go to each weekend; they were the Church.
The early church made a habit of spending time together. They shared meals, sang, learned Scripture, and encouraged one another. The tradition of gathering regularly was passed down through the generations. One key verse about gathering comes from an early-church author, who wrote:
And let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25 BSB
Over two thousand years, the church has expanded, adapted, and diversified. But almost every Christian tradition still shares the value of gathering regularly. Why?
Why Do We Go to Church? Here are 3 Reasons.
1. We all need encouragement.
Isolation can feel comfortable, right? Nothing but you, your hobbies, and your own preferences to care about. You don’t have to worry about meeting anyone’s expectations or letting people down. You also get to avoid the potential heartbreak and disappointment that relationships can create. But these short-term advantages can’t outweigh the downsides of living without meaningful relationships.
We simply aren’t built to go through life alone. All on our own, we’re vulnerable to destructive habits and negative self-talk. We also miss out on the strength that grows through friendship.
Christians are people who are learning to live and love like Jesus. The way of Jesus isn’t always easy, but when we gather regularly with other Jesus followers, our strength, passion, and conviction multiply. So we go to church because it’s a place to find encouragement through relationships.
Going to church every week gives you the opportunity to meet new people who can help you grow in your faith. It can also give you opportunities to share life-giving encouragement with others.
2. We all have room to grow.
Understanding what it means to be a Christian is simple. We’re called to live and love like Jesus as we follow Him. But have you noticed that Jesus is perfect, and we’re not?
Fortunately, God is full of grace for us—and we all have room to grow in that grace. Listening to pastors and leaders on a regular basis gives us opportunities to grow in faith. It can be uncomfortable to learn about areas of personal growth, but it’s worth it.
And the growth isn’t meant to be one-way. As we continually become more like Jesus, we have the opportunity and calling to help others do the same. All of us have stories of how God has been working in our lives. When we share those stories, we help others to go deeper in their faith too.
3. We grow best with different perspectives.
Everyone has a unique background and perspective. That means we all experience God in different ways. For example, someone celebrating a major life event might see a Bible verse about God’s goodness differently than someone who has recently gone through a loss. Both perspectives are meaningful—and both can inform how we understand God.
People view faith, God, and the Bible through the lens of their culture. So we have a lot to learn about God through people from different places. When we go to church, we expose ourselves to alternate perspectives and cultural understandings of God and gain a richer understanding of what it means to follow Jesus.
Why do we go to church? Because we need each other.
The Church isn’t a building, it’s people following Jesus together. So let’s make a habit of gathering together. Spending time with each other regularly is a gift, so let’s make the most of it!
Making the Most of Church
By now, you know that church is about relationships. Going to church can help you grow in relationship with God and with other people. So, how do we make the most of church? How do we give ourselves the best opportunity to experience encouragement and growth through diverse relationships?
- We attend regularly. Going to the gym twice a year is better than not going at all, but it’s probably not going to make a huge difference in your fitness. In the same way, going to church once in a while is good, but it’s probably not going to make a meaningful difference in your daily life. So make an intentional habit of attending that works for you.
- We get to know someone better each week. Talking to strangers can be intimidating, but it’s the first step to building lasting friendships. So make a habit of being curious. Ask questions, and share a bit about yourself. One way to do this is by joining a small group of people you can journey more closely with as you all grow in your faith together, encouraging each other.
- We share what we have. The early church used what they had for the good of others. Some had physical resources, others had life experience, and some had extra time to spend doing God’s work. You have something that someone else needs. It might be a skill, special talent, or resource that can make a difference in someone’s life. Often it looks like seeking service opportunities and being generous with your resources.
Church isn’t a place; it’s people following Jesus together. So let’s make a habit of gathering together whenever we can.
For more on what it means to be the Church, check out this message series from Pastor Craig Groeschel.