It’s becoming a more and more common question from today’s young people, “If I have a solid Christian community and a growing faith, why do I need to go to church?” That’s an important question and one we need to get right.
Many young millennials find themselves at a point where they know what they believe, have Christian friends and increasingly feel like they don’t really need to go to church. They rationalize they can watch sermons online, pray regularly and catch up on some sleep on Sunday morning. So, what’s the harm?
Well, the harm is in the belief that gathering with other believers is primarily about our personal preferences and desires, instead of about following Jesus’ commands and expectations. From their earliest days, Christ’s followers gathered together to pray, learn and fellowship together (Acts 2:42).
Many people embrace more of a “me and Jesus” type of Christianity. They like learning about and following Jesus, but if they’re honest, they don’t really like many of His followers. They are quick to point out hypocrisy and may have even had a pastor or church leader fail them. While hypocrites do exist and sometimes Christians will hurt us, that is no excuse to avoid fellowship with other believers.
One of the primary reasons you should find and plug into a local church body is to make use of the particular gifts God has given you. When we become Christians, the Holy Spirit gives us each gifts (like service, encouragement, and teaching). In First Corinthians 12-14, Paul explains there are several different types of gifts and the Spirit gives them to us as He sees fit. Paul goes on to explain that the gifts should be valued based on how greatly they build up the body of Christ. If you are a believer, God has gifted you so that you can encourage, bless and build up other Christians.
When we gather together at church, we are not there primarily to worship in a way we like and listen to a preaching style we prefer. We are there to use the gifts God has given us to bless the body of believers. Our prayer as we head to church is not, “Lord, help me enjoy church,” but instead, “Lord, show me how to use my gifts to serve others.” As Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And 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.”
There are plenty of great reasons to find and commit to a local church. Using our gifts to bless others is just one of them. When we fail to go to church regularly, we aren’t just depriving other believers of a blessing through our gifts, but we are missing out on blessings the Holy Spirit has for us as well. So let us continue to gather together and pray for opportunities to let our God-given gifts spill over into the lives of our brothers and sister in Christ.