When unbelievers see Christians gathering together as a congregation on Sunday at church, it will show them the importance of worshiping the Lord. It will emphasize that He is someone, the Someone, worth showing up for each and every week.
Gathering as a congregation is extremely important for every Christian. Ever since the genesis of the Covid-19 pandemic, gathering as a congregation has become less frequent or even nonexistent. If you are wondering why it is important to gather as a congregation, you have come to the right place.
The Body of Believers
The church is ultimately made up of the body of believers. In other words, when church occurs on Sunday and the congregation is present, the body of believers is in one location to worship the Lord together. Gathering as a congregation is important because corporate worship is necessary for our faith.
Sunday morning is the typical day Christians meet together to worship and hear a sermon from the pastor. This is because the resurrection of Christ occurred on the first day of the week—Sunday (Mark 16:9). Sure, we can worship the Lord in our own private lives; however, it is important that we also worship Him as a congregation because this is a crucial, consistent opportunity to help and support one another. 1 John 4:11 tells us, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” We can extend love to each other by gathering as a congregation and encouraging one another. Each person in a pew is struggling with some type of difficulty in their lives right now. Whether due to physical, emotional, financial, or other difficulties, we need to extend love and support to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Similarly, when you go to church, it is a time for the congregation to extend the same love and support back to you. Without the congregation gathering, it's hard to offer consistent support from one believer to another.
Never Stop Meeting
In Hebrews, Paul tells us: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25). This passage of Scripture tells us the importance of not “giving up meeting together.” In other words, we should not stop gathering as a congregation.
Paul addresses how many early believers are not gathering together for regular worship. With one of the greatest ministers of the faith, we should heed Paul's encouragement to worship as a group. As it is, not meeting together as a congregation is a huge problem that has consequences. If we do not gather as a congregation, we risk the danger of being entrapped by false doctrines and false belief systems. There are many false teachers in the world who want to destroy the truth of the Bible and substitute a fake “gospel” in its place. If we are not active in meeting as a congregation, these false teachers can easily trick, deceive, and manipulate new believers into false beliefs concerning God, the Bible, and salvation.
Rather than neglecting to meet together, we should meet together as a congregation and continue to educate one another about the Bible. This is especially true for new believers as they can easily be led astray by false teachers. More mature believers need to help educate younger believers in the truth of the Bible when they gather together as a congregation at church or outside of the church, such as a small home group for Bible studies. Gathering as a congregation does not always have to be at the church. As just mentioned, home Bible studies are great for meeting with your congregation, or even meeting at an outdoor space is a great place for gathering amidst the pandemic. Nonetheless, group worship is vital for the individual.
A Deep Connection
By meeting in person as a congregation, it will enhance a Christian’s faith. Hearing God’s Word taught out loud can fuel the Christian’s faith and cause the individual to feel inspired, motivated, and loved (Brian Croft, “Five Essential Reasons for Christians to Gather in Public Worship,” Ligonier Ministries, 2017). Meeting online as a congregation is still good; however, meeting in person has more benefits on a deeper, personal level. When we meet in person, we are more likely to pay attention and be attentive to the pastor’s message. If we are tuning in online, it can be hard to pay attention at times. Gathering in person as a congregation can help us learn and retain the pastor’s message more effectively.
Also, when we gather as a congregation in person, we will be able to hear a personalized message from the pastor to the congregation (Brian Croft, “Five Essential Reasons for Christians to Gather in Public Worship,” Ligonier Ministries, 2017). The pastor of the church should build relationships with members of the church and be able to help them with their difficulties. Members of a church should feel welcomed to bring their struggles to their pastor for help, guidance, and direction. Pastors are to be shepherds of their people and help them as best they can. Once a pastor has built relationships with the congregation, he would be able to make more personalized sermons that can deeply connect to the congregation and preach on aspects that will help those who are struggling. If the church did not meet together as a congregation, the believers would not be able to hear this personalized message from the preacher. Listening to popular preachers through podcasts, radio, and YouTube may be interesting, but these preachers will not be able to connect with you on a deeper level as your own local pastor could.
Learning from Each Other
Gathering together as a congregation helps us grow more spiritual fruit in our lives (Brian Croft, “Five Essential Reasons for Christians to Gather in Public Worship,” Ligonier Ministries, 2017). The Lord wants us to bear fruit for Him (John 15:1-17), so when we come together as a congregation, we are better equipped at helping one another grow spiritual fruits, keeping one another accountable for both good and bad fruit. The fruits of the Spirit consist of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Meeting together as a congregation can help us cultivate these fruits in our lives as other believers can hold us accountable for whether or not we water and nurture these attributes in our daily lives (Brian Croft, “Five Essential Reasons for Christians to Gather in Public Worship,” Ligonier Ministries, 2017).
If we are struggling with bearing one or more of these spiritual fruits, our fellow believers can help us cultivate these fruits and pray for us. However, it is important to note that no matter how hard a Christian tries, they cannot cause another Christian to completely produce spiritual fruit in their life. We can encourage them and pray for them, but a willing heart surrendered to God's power is what makes the fruit sprout. Working on the fruits of the Spirit is difficult, but God does promise to help us cultivate these fruits in our lives, especially by having other believers hold us accountable.
It is easy for us to rationalize in our minds that we would be “okay” without other Christians holding us accountable and this may be true to an extent; however, we do need other Christians to help us, support, and pray for us. Without someone holding us accountable, it can be too easy to fall into sin and hurt others in the process. It is best to continue meeting as a congregation because we can help others and they can help us. This allows us to work in perfect, God-ordained unity. Christ wants us to work in unity to avoid disorder, quarrels, and fights (1 Corinthians 1:10). Unity among believers is pivotal in pointing others to the beauty of Christian community and, most importantly, bringing glory and praise to God.
Gathering Together Attests to God
A final reason for the importance of gathering as a congregation is that it is a visible symbol of God to the outside world (Jonathan Leeman, “The Church Gathered,” The Gospel Coalition, 2022). When unbelievers see Christians gathering together as a congregation on Sunday at church, it will show them the importance of worshiping the Lord. It will emphasize that He is someone, the Someone, worth showing up for each and every week. If we did not meet together, the outside world may think we are not serious about our faith or that God is not worth worshipping. If we give up meeting together, it will be a negative testimony to not only believers and the outside world but also to God.
The Lord wants us to gather together and worship Him as a congregation. Ever since Jesus’ resurrection, the body of believers started to meet together. The early church in Acts met consistently, worshipped God, and taught each other about the Apostles' teachings (Acts 2:42-47). In the same way, we meet together in the modern-day to worship God and learn more about His character through the Bible. Meeting as a congregation does not need to be deemed as “old school” or “unnecessary.” There is great importance in gathering as a congregation and we should never overlook the value of meeting together each week to worship, glorify, and learn about God.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.