Monday, March 11, 2013

Do I have to go to church every week? How often should I attend worship services? Is it ok to miss? What does the Bible teach about "going to church"?

Sunday, the first day of the week, has played an important role concerning the fellowship of the saints mainly because it serves as a time for congregational worship and devotion to God. Churches of Christ throughout the world meet on Sunday to glorify God in song, praise Him in prayer, teach His Word from the pulpit, take up a collection for different efforts of the church and partake of the Lord’s Supper. 

Why is meeting together on this day so important though? Is it really that big of a deal for a Christian not to be there on Sunday?

Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper during the Passover feast (Mat. 26:17,26-29). It was during this first day of the week that Jesus and his apostles gathered together to drink the fruit of the vine representing Christ’s blood and the unleavened bread which represented the body of Christ. After the establishment of the church we have example of Christians meeting together to take the Lord’s Supper together (Acts 20:7). Other events that take place on the Lord’s day (Sunday) are related to the taking of the Lord’s Supper. When the brethren met together to partake of the Lord’s Supper in Acts chapter twenty Paul also discoursed with them. The taking up of a collection as a congregation on the first day of the week is done so knowing that the brethren are meeting together to partake of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 16:1,2).

It should go without saying that Sunday is an important day in the life of a Christian. What if a Christian is sick though? What if there is a conflict of schedules with the time that the brethren meet together on Sunday and another event? What should be the thought process of a Christian? 

Thoughts for consideration when contemplating missing church services:
  1. Prioritizing your time is an important part of being a successful individual. What is most important to and what should be most important to you may be two different things. God needs to come before man and spiritual matters before the physical. 
  2. How can we encourage our brethren and teach them if we are not there? One of the key reasons Christians sing as a congregation is to teach and edify one another (Col. 3:16). 
  3. The Lord’s Supper ought to be taken by the Christian. This should be done with the other Christians in the local area. Paul in his correction of the Corinthian brethren points out how important it was for them to come together as a united group (1 Cor. 11:17-34). The brethren ‘came together’ to take the Lord’s Supper. Christians ought to be there to do so. 
  4. Will my not attending do more harm than good? Will my attending do more harm than good? There are some individuals who are physically not able to meet with the brethren. There are others who are so sick at times that they are at risk of infecting others. Wisdom ought to be used in all decisions. 
  5. Am I not going just because I do not want to be there? The Hebrew writer gives emphasis to the importance of brethren meeting together (Heb. 10:25). We need to make sure we’re not forsaking our brethren. We should want to be together to strengthen and edify one another. 
  6. What kind of example am I setting? Am I teaching other Christians what it means to really be a Christian or am I leading them down an apathetic path? Our example to others is important. How we influence others can shape lives. 
Ultimately our attitude plays a vital role to understanding how important it is to meet with the brethren on Sunday. We should see it as a great opportunity! We should look forward to singing praises to God, hearing His Word, and taking the Lord’s Supper. Am I following Christ’s example or am I just looking for an excuse? Let’s all examine our real drive for meeting together and make sure that it is a Biblical one. 

Post by Tyler Kirkpatrick (Associate Minister for the West Visalia Church of Christ)