Assembly Required: 25 Reasons to Regularly Participate in Public and Corporate Worship
A friend and I had a long conversation, a typical discussion that happens when pastors get together. We fixed all of the problems in the church and the world before we got up from the table. Of course, nothing changed when we finished our profound conversation.
After an extended debate about transitions and succession, we considered our future retirements from pastoral ministry, God willing. “When I retire, I’m not going to church anymore,” my friend joked. “I will do like my members and just watch the services via livestream.” My friend assured me that he would faithfully pay his tithes and offerings each week. But he would do so from the comfort of his fishing boat. We laughed. Then the conversation moved on. But the question my friend raised kept gnawing at me.
Would you go to church if you were not a pastor?
There are times I feel like the man who slept in one Sunday morning. His wife insisted he get ready for church. “Give me three reasons why I should go to church today,” he mumbled.
His wife had three ready answers. “First, it’s Sunday and it is your Christian duty to worship. Second, the Lord has been good and we should give thanks for his blessings. Third, you’re the pastor of the church!”
Yes, I am a pastor who is paid to be at church on Sundays. It is my responsibility to be present and prepared. I take these duties seriously. Pastoral ministry has been a vital part of the Lord’s sanctifying work in my life. But I do not go to church merely because I am a pastor who must be there. I would go to church even if I were not a pastor.
I would go to church if I were not a pastor because I would still be a Christian. There are many good reasons for this. The best reason is that Christ is the head of the church, and the church is the body of Christ. You cannot have a high view of Christ and a low view of the church.
I love Jesus Christ. And I love what Jesus loves. Christ loves the church and gave himself for her (Eph. 5:25). Christ is sanctifying the church to present her to himself without spot or blemish. In the meantime, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb. 10:24–25).
Still not convinced? Okay, here are 25 more reasons you should regularly participate in public and corporate worship:
- The Word of God teaches it (Heb. 10:24–25). A high and correct view of Scripture demands regular church attendance.
- Corporate worship is where the preaching and teaching of God’s Word occur (2 Tim. 4:1–5).
- It follows the example set by the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 4:16).
- It honors the best and brightest day of the week—Sunday, the Lord’s Day—the day on which the Lord Jesus rose from the dead.
- It is a wise and proper use of the privilege we have to publicly and corporately worship God. Christians in other lands do not all have this freedom. The only way for us to express our gratitude for this liberty is to use it faithfully and thankfully.
- Your neglect of corporate worship grieves the Holy Spirit who lives within the individual believer and the church as a whole (Eph. 4:30).
- It brings joy to the spiritual leaders who watch over your soul and who must give account for you. Absenteeism grieves them and is unprofitable for you (Heb. 13:17).
- It demonstrates that you share the mission and ministry of the particular church family of which you are a member.
- Your absence from church services renders it difficult, and in some instances impossible, for you to participate in the church’s mutual ministry to itself, especially the “one another” commands of the New Testament.
- You need the encouragement that comes from the assembling of the saints (Heb. 10:24–25). The more evil the days become, the more you need this encouragement.
- God demands first place (Matt. 6:33). This principle should govern our practice.
- It reminds you that God has a new community of people through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 12:5).
- It is a way of preserving the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3).
- Public and corporate worship is the central place where you exercise your spiritual gifts. It is a strategic place to minister to other believers (1 Cor. 14:12).
- Your regular attendance serves as a positive example and influence for others.
- If you participate in some ministry of the church—and you should—your absence can hinder the overall effectiveness of the group and discourage other members.
- Being involved in public and corporate worship services counteracts our self-centeredness.
- You should take the time to stop and say “thank you” to God for bringing you through another week.
- Absenteeism is a poor testimony to unbelievers who see your inconsistency (John 13:34–35). It is also a poor witness to our children, whom we are to raise in the instruction and admonition of the Lord.
- True and saving faith will foster love for that which Christ loves, the church (Eph. 5:25). Regularly attending church services is a fundamental way to demonstrate your love for the bride of Christ.
- The practice of good habits like regular church attendance builds spiritual character.
- The New Testament teaches us to recognize, share all good things with, submit to, and honor spiritual leaders who teach us the Word. Attending worship is a way of doing that. (Remember, not only are we accountable to the Word of God, but we are also accountable to those whom God uses to teach us his Word.)
- Attending public and corporate worship services renews and strengthens us for the days ahead (Heb. 10:24–25).
- Corporate worship helps reinforce the truth that worship is not about getting from God. Fundamentally, Christian worship is about giving to God.
- Public and corporate worship is the officially designated place to carry out the ordinances of the church—baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
* * * * *
Adapted from On Worship: A Short Guide to Understanding, Participating in, and Leading Corporate Worship by H.B. Charles Jr. (© 2022). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission.
For more about On Worship, read Matt Merker's review of the book.