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.
It’s the same with church attendance. Sharing the same space with others who also love Jesus and each other gives a sense of importance, excitement and reality to everything else about our faith. Going to church reminds us that being the church matters.
At least that’s what a good church experience should do.
Going And Being
So why is church attendance down, even among believers? Is it because we’ve elevated going to church over being the church? Or is it because we think we can be the church without going to church?
When church leaders emphasize going to church over being the church, people start thinking think attendance is enough and they stop being the church.
On the other hand, when we tell people it’s only about being the church, they stop going. And soon they stop being, too.
It’s a vicious circle.
We need both. Going to church strengthens being the church and being the church is made stronger by going to church.
I need to worship in the same space as you to ground my faith in the reality of my everyday life. And you need to worship in the same space as me for the same reason.
Going to church doesn’t matter if we’re not being the church, and being the church stops happening when we stop going.
We need the church. Not because we need an institution. But because we’ve been made to worship Jesus together.
I am a part of the church, so I go to church. And I go to church because we are the church.
We’re better together.
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