If you grew up in a church you may remember being there “every time the doors were open.” It’s a cliché that many identify with in their spiritual development or their faith tradition. But those times and habits, they are a changing. You could simply say that they have changed. Even with people who are considered faithful members of a church body, the frequency of their church attendance has diminished. It used to be that that you were considered a member in good standing if you were with the church 3 times a week, today it is more like 2 to 3 times a month. Did we just move the bar?
Church attendance is not the only way to measure if someone is growing spiritually or is a committed follower of Jesus Christ. I get that. I do believe it is one of the most important spiritual disciplines for a believer to practice and here’s why.
You need to gather with the church for worship…
- To reorient your heart
Jesus says, “where your treasure is there your heart will be also.”
Everyone has a desire to worship.
I believe God placed this desire in all of mankind. Our hearts are prone to latch on to temporary things at the expense of the eternal.
If you don’t believe me go to a concert or a football game. Go to the store when the newest iProduct is launched. Watch celebrity reality TV or American Idol. Go to a car show.
These are cultural examples where people give their attention, express their love, and spend their money and time. Most of the people involved wouldn’t call participating in those activities worship. Yet it is necessary to recognize the similarities between the gathered church and the gathered fans. Neither activity is passive. One orients you to desire more of the world and the other, more of God.
“Worship is expressing our love to God for who he is, what he’s said, and what he’s doing.” – Rick Warren
When the church gathers to praise and worship God what we are doing is allowing God to recalibrate our heart’s compass to true north. We are reminded to make God our heart’s treasure and give away all our affections to him.
He is the object of our worship and He is the author of our worship.
Gathering together with God’s people restores us to His story. We are re-storied to live out His plans for our life each day. Not to be confused with refueling (a spiritual high/mountain top experience to get us through the week), we are set straight and set up for developing a lifestyle of daily worship. So that when the church gathers again – we will bring our worship to the church.
- To reach the goal of your faith
When you gather, you gather for the audience of One. God is the object of your affections. God is the One we worship.
In other words, the goal of our worship is God. We are saying together, “You are worthy of praise and You are trustworthy. We put our faith in you God.”
And God’s goal for you is to be transformed into the image of His Son, Jesus.
We need to gather to worship because we need to become like Christ.
Worship may be an expression of our love to God but that is only one part of the worship experience. Worship is not simply bottom- up, from man to God, but more importantly it is top-down.
When we gather together to take communion, witness a baptism, receive the word though preaching; when we pray, sing and give – God is doing something!
God is doing the work of worship. It’s not a passive event or activity it is experiencing the divine presence of God.
He is changing us. We are saved by the grace of God and being saved by the grace of God. Worship is where we continually receive His grace.
- To witness the gospel
“The heavens declare the glory of God.”
And “… the rocks will cry out.”
But just like the song, “Ain’t not rock gonna cry in my place, as long as I’m alive I’ll glory His holy name.”
Ain’t no rock ever led someone to faith in Jesus.
Seeing you worship God just might be what someone who is not a believer needs to see in order to say, “Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place. I can feel His mighty power and his grace.”
Our God is not a God who needs to be understood but experienced.
The gathered church gives an opportunity for someone to experience God.
The gathered church is an open door for someone’s heart to be redirected because of your praise.
Next week we will look at two more reasons you need to gather for worship.
Can you think of more? Please leave your comments below.