Three Reasons Why You Should Encourage Your Congregation to Gather Every Week
Pastor, what do you wish your congregation would add to their New Year’s resolutions? Here’s one you should encourage your church members to include: resolve to gather with the church every Sunday.
Don’t encourage them to consider, think about, or merely entertain the idea of going to church. Encourage them to deliberately plan, arrange, and order their weeks and months so that they would be in the pews for those 52 Sundays.
Here are three reasons why.
1. THE BIBLE COMMANDS IT
If you are a Christian, the Bible commands you to gather regularly. Hebrews explicitly exhorts its readers to “not [neglect] to meet together, as is the habit of some” (Heb. 10:25). The New Testament provides a pattern, set by the apostles and early disciples, of meeting regularly on the first day of the week to hear the Word preached, break bread, and collect donations for the saints (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1–2).
Pastor, what hindrances do you see in your church members that prevent them from gathering? Life happens, of course. We shouldn’t be legalistic. We get sick or must travel. Yet we should exhort and encourage our people to obey our Lord and Savior.
One way to do this is by promoting Sunday morning gatherings more than other church meetings. Remind attendees by announcing every week that you will gather again the next Sunday. Through prayer and discipling, minds and hearts can change to view church attendance not merely as a habit or routine, but also as a matter of obedience.
2. OUR SOULS NEED IT
Everyone wants to grow. While New Year’s resolutions usually consist of physical training, remind your flock to also take care of their spiritual health, which the Bible prioritizes (Matt. 10:28, 1 Tim. 4:8).
One of the best things for our souls is to come to church and hear the Word of God preached. The Bible is clear on this: God creates and sustains life only through his Word (Ps. 119; Ezek. 37; John 1:4-5, 17:17; Rom. 10:17; Heb. 1:1–2). A soul not consistently digesting expositional preaching is at risk of eventually withering and dying.
Pastors and leaders, display your own need when it’s not your week to preach by sitting in the front row. Show your church that the source of your soul’s nourishment is the same as theirs.
3. OUR FAMILY BENEFITS FROM IT
As much as we should gather for the sake of our own souls, the entire church benefits as well. Scripture’s metaphors for the church—a family, temple, household of God—all communicate the togetherness of those who are in Christ.
I cannot obey the one-another without others. By gathering with brothers and sisters in Christ, we’re making it possible for each other to obey God’s commands to love and encourage one another. Can you believe it? Your members can minister to one another just by attending.
Recently, an older member at my church shared that her cancer had come back. We grieved as a church. But as we watched her and her husband continue to attend faithfully and worship God as her sovereign protector and loving Father, we were also encouraged as a church.
As your members are burdened with the trials of life, their continued commitment to gather with God’s people brightly displays the Holy Spirit’s work in them. In return, their family sees and is strengthened.
Matt Smethurst once said, “Spiritual disciplines are not about making you precious to God. They’re about making God more precious to you.”
We don’t gather with the church to make ourselves precious to God. We gather because—as we’re reminded of the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection, as we’re encouraged by the family for whom he died—God becomes more precious to us.