Church is not a place we go, it's who we are. The New Testament is really clear about that.
But because church is who we are, it also matters a great deal that we go to church, too.
Church attendance should not be the defining feature of our Christian lives. After all, God doesn’t take attendance. But that doesn’t mean going to church doesn’t matter. It does. A lot.
Unfortunately, there’s a growing movement of people who say they can be better Christians without going to church. They’re using the theology of being the church as an excuse for not going to church. That is misguided at best and disobedient at worst.
It’s dangerous to discount the value of church-going. And it’s unsupportable by scripture, which makes it clear that gathering with other believers is an essential aspect of faith. For instance, you can’t take communion alone – the word “communion” itself tells us that.
Your church-going experience may look nothing like mine. That’s okay. I’m not arguing for any particular format. But it matters that we go. It’s important – even essential – that we gather.
The Church Event Matters
For almost 2,000 years, Christians haven’t just been the church, we’ve gathered for the event of church. Because the event matters.
There’s something important about leaving our houses to gather with other believers – even if it’s to meet in another believer’s house. It tells us that being the church matters, because things that matter get a spot on our schedules. They carve time out of our week. They cost us something to do.
The event of church-going gives weight to the reality of church-being.
Church-Going As A Shared Experience
Have you ever wondered why people line up for a midnight showing of a new movie? Or brave the elements to sit in cold stands to watch a football game?
It’s not because there’s no other way to see the movie or watch the game. In fact, in can be argued (by me, for one) that the TV experience is better than the live game experience in many ways. And for the movie, it’s not like fans will never have another chance to see it. It will be in theaters for months, then on DVD, streaming services and more after that. Forever.
If it was only about the content of the movie or the game, no one would ever leave their house to watch one ever again.
They leave their house to go to the movie and the game because the event matters. Sharing the experience in the same space as other people who share that interest – even with total strangers – matters. It makes the content better, somehow. More real.