You Need to Go to Church
Are you ready? I’m about to rant. Here we go…
We do not go to church to check a box. We do not go to church to prove that we are holy, or to get our gold star for the week. We do not go to church, well, really at all, because we are the church so the verbiage is confusing. But, you know what I’m saying, and this is a rant, so just go with me.
We don’t go to church because it’s the only way to have a relationship with Jesus. We don’t go to church to get something from the message or the music, and we definitely don’t go to worship because we like the preacher or the music. And speaking of the preacher, we don’t go to church to make him/her feel better (although, Lord help a sister, I worry when y’all don’t show up). We don’t go to church for the free childcare (unless you do, in which case that’s cool sometimes, because sanity). We don’t even go to church because Jesus told us to. I’ve read the book a few times and it doesn’t really come up in his messages.
HOWEVER, I am absolutely convinced that going to worship (see how I fixed the verbiage issue?) is unequivocally the most important thing we do every single week as followers of Jesus. Let me say that again – Going to worship is unequivocally the most important thing we do every single week as followers of Jesus.
Before you start arguing with me and pushing back, and especially after I gave you all those reasons why not – here are a few of the reasons I believe it’s true:
- We go to
churchworship for what we give, not what we get. In worship, we set aside our need for value-add and efficiency, and do something for God. We make space to give Him our hearts, tell Him thank you – individually and collectively – for what He has done. Sure, we think we’ll make time to do that on our own, and hopefully we do, but showing up for worship – taking time, making space, prioritizing the glory of God – that’s a big deal. It’s a move of faith. It’s a profound statement to others, and to ourselves, about what matters most. And the crazy thing is, when we go for that reason, we always get something in return. (God is simply that good.)
- We go to worship for the next person(s), ideally the ones we have invited. As we grow in our faith, we get better and better at finding our way into the presence of God on our own. We get more comfortable praying and reading the Bible, and even singing our hearts out and raising our hands in the car – not caring what the people around us think. We discover that we can find God and grow in all sorts of places. In fact, all of the places. But very few of us start there in our relationship with God. Part of showing up is making space for the next person to find their voice and their pace with God. It’s knowing that our showing up makes it possible for someone else to dip their toe in the water.
- We go to worship because God told us He would be there – every time. “Where two or three are gathered…” Why wouldn’t we show up somewhere with a 100% guarantee that God would be there too?
- We go to worship to change our perspective. Both Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church, and James Galloway, the worship and creative arts director at Ashley Ridge Church, have told their stories of going on the London Eye and how it impacted their worship. You get in at street level and before you know it, you are high above the city with the perfect view of Big Ben, Parliament, BuckinghamPalace, the Tower of London, and more. You’re in the same city, but the perspective changed as your eyes were lifted by the experience. Worship lifts our eyes and shifts our perspective. We still don’t see everything God sees, but we see the obstacles and circumstances differently. As we tell and re-tell the stories of our faith in community, our perspective changes. It’s why God set a rhythm in place of stopping once every week to make room for the shift to happen.
- We go to worship to remember. Just before the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River into the Promised Land after escaping slavery in Egypt and wandering in the desert for 40 years, Moses sits everyone down for a little chat. In the midst of the conversation, he repeats the Ten Commandments God gave him on Mt. Sinai, only this time he adds some commentary. When he got to the one about keeping a sabbath day holy, he doesn’t focus on the part about not working. Instead, he focuses on the idea that we have to stop working so that we tell the stories and actively remember what God has done. Moses understood that if we didn’t set aside time to remember, we would most certainly forget – forget that God moves mountains, and splits rivers, and brings dead things back to life. And if He did it before, doesn’t it give us faith and confidence He will do it again? Remembering matters. A shared history and experience of faith matters.
School is about to start. Our lives are all CRAZY. But I want to challenge you as you set schedules and make commitments to make worship a priority. Say your best yes to the things that matters most. Don’t live your life on empty when the filling station is always open.