If we believe in God then why do we need to go to church?
Sunday at church the question was asked, “Why do we need to go to church?” It is a very common response for others to say, I don’t need to go to church to experience Jesus or have a relationship with God. This is true so it can be difficult to answer. We were all asked freely what was our own personal reason for being there that day in church?
Some answers were:
1. To worship
2. To connect with others
3. Build relationships
4. Receive Sacraments
5. Edify Believers
6. To take scheduled time out for God
These are all great answers. However, one answer struck me, as someone raised their hand and said, “I come to church to fill me up.” She said, “I think of church like a gas station to fill my tank up. Just like a car. Is a car a car just because it takes space up in a garage?” “What is the point of having a car sit in a garage if the gas tank is not filled up, you can’t go anywhere with an empty tank.”
How profound this statement was to me. Just as a Christian goes to church.
Of course not. A person can absolutely have a personal relationship with God without going to church. But how full is their tank and how far have they gone in their relationship with the Lord? Our personal relationship with God can be like the car that sits in the garage with an empty tank, collecting dust and forming rust. How far can we go if we are not filled up? Our tanks will never be filled just by sitting there. Church is a way to connect, re-energize, refocus, worship and build relationships.
What is the church to you?
Is it the building? The choir? The pastor? The church is the people. Not the building, not the things in it, but the people in it. The building is just a building and means nothing without the pastor, the choir, or the people.
One church had the unfortunate experience of being victim to a horrible storm that caused a flood. The waters rose so fast and became so powerful they pushed opened the doors of the church. Water came gushing into the sanctuary filling the entire room. All the seats they sat in every Sunday became submerged in water. It was the most unbelievable sight. When the rain stopped the water then had a chance to recede and drain. When this flood happened it was an eye-opening experience because at first all were saddened the flood ruined the church where they worshipped the Lord. When the storm left, in came the people to help in any way to rebuild and restore what was damaged. This experience made them realize more than ever, a storm can take away the building but it can’t take away where they worship the Lord. Where they worship is the church. The church is the people.
As the sermon went on that day the pastor stated statistics of why people don’t attend church.
It saddened to hear the responses:
1. 30% say church is important but not relevant
2. 40% say church is ambivalent, I find God elsewhere
3. 30% say church is not important
Other reasons people said why they didn’t go:
2. Moral values of the church leaders
3. The church’s irrelevance
4. God is missing from the church
So it challenged me to think how do we answer the question, “Why do we need to go to church?” It makes me question, Are we the people who are in the church doing something wrong or are the people attending not fully, wholly giving themselves completely?
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.”(1 Corinthians 12:12).
I think the blame game can be played here. But in reality, there is no perfect church or person for that matter. There will always be variables at play. I believe we do need the church and the church needs us. That is how the beautiful message of the gospel is spread. That is how the body of Christ functions and we become the hands and feet of Jesus. A body works much better when it has all of its parts.
“Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” 1 Corinthians 12:14-20
People who go to Alcoholics Anonymous go to keep them accountable. Without accountability what kind of relationship can be built? Church keeps us accountable. It is important to keep coming together and be the church.
Hebrews 10:25 NIV- “So let’s not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the day approaching.”
Nothing happens when the car is sitting in the garage with an empty tank. God’s word isn’t meant to stay on the pages of our Bibles, but to be alive and living within us. His words, His truth, fill us with all we need and more than we can imagine. His words will sustain and maintain us in this life and for all eternity. Keep filling up your tank and see how far you go.