Church is not optional for the follower of Jesus. A believer in Jesus is a part of the universal Church and should be involved in a local church. Many of the commands of the New Testament cannot be obeyed apart from a relationship with God’s people—the church. How can we love one another (John 13:34-35), serve one another (Galatians 5:13), confess our sins to one another (James 5:16), or encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11) if we are never gathered together? To obey these teachings assumes that we have an active relationship with God’s family.
It is no secret that church attendance is not what it used to be. Many churches have plateaued or are in decline. Among those who claim to believe in Jesus, attendance in a church may be inconsistent, unpredictable, or nonexistent.
To truly follow Jesus is to be committed to a local church where God’s Word is honored, obeyed, and proclaimed.
So why should a follower of Jesus commit to going to church regularly? Let me offer four reasons.
Reason 1: We Love God
This is the single most important reason to go to church. We love God. The primary way we demonstrate our love for God is through our obedience to God. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15; also 14:21, 23). It is clear that the early church regularly gathered (Acts 2:46) and that it was expected that God’s people would continue to gather (Hebrews 10:24-25).
If we love Jesus we will obey him. If we love Jesus we will love his church and be involved in his church.
Reason 2: We Love God’s Family
A second reason for going to church is because we love God’s family—the church. Jesus commands us to love each other. Our love for each other within God’s family demonstrates to others that we belong to Jesus (John 13:34-45). Followers of Jesus gather together for worship, encouragement, accountability, and growth in Christ.
We go to church because we are pursuing our spiritual growth as well as the spiritual growth of our brothers and sisters in Jesus.
Reason 3: We Love Those Outside God’s Family
A third reason to go to church is because we love those outside of God’s family—unbelievers. Followers of Jesus want to see others become followers of Jesus. We want to lead people to repent of their sins and to believe in Jesus Christ. Consistent involvement in a church provides tangible evidence of our commitment to Jesus and also provides us with the opportunity to invite unbelievers to be our guests at church.
Commitment to a local church can encourage our efforts at sharing Jesus with others. We can share Jesus in our daily lives and we can invite unbelievers to our church where the Gospel will be proclaimed.
Reason 4: We Love Ourselves and Our Families
A final reason for us to go to church is because we love ourselves and our families. While we go to church to worship and to be an encouragement to others, we also can receive encouragement ourselves. We go to church to be encouraged to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). We go to church to be challenged and held accountable by the Word of God. We go to church because it’s for our good. Faithful participation in a church is truly in our own best interest.
Go to church because you love God.
Go to church because you love God’s family.
Go to church because you love those outside of God’s family.
Go to church because you love yourself and your family.
I hope to see you at church this Sunday!
– Pastor Luke