The importance of just going to church

By David Pool
Posted 5/5/22

What’s the big deal about attending church? As long as I worship God, what does it matter if I go to church?  

Over the years, several good people have mentioned their …

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The importance of just going to church


What’s the big deal about attending church? As long as I worship God, what does it matter if I go to church?  

Over the years, several good people have mentioned their “church” is the mountains. 

“My church is in the mountains. That’s where I worship,” they say.

 And you know what? I get it. One of the great things about living in Wyoming is the beauty and power seen in the creation around us. The mountains are a great place to worship because God’s handiwork is breathtaking. But … that’s not church.

The biblical word that we translate “church” doesn’t mean going to be inspired by scenery or even sermons or podcasts.  Those activities are valuable, but that’s not what church is. The Greek word for  “church”  in the New Testament means “assembly” or “gathering.” It conveys the idea of believers gathering in community to express devotion to Jesus Christ, to worship him and to build one another up. 

Here are a few reasons why attending church services and being a member of a local church is important. First, building this community, this gathering, was central to Jesus’ mission when he was here. Jesus said he was going to build his church.  He also said that the church that he established would never go away:  “On this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (See Matthew 16:13-20 for context.) The fact is that Jesus shed his blood on the cross so that your sins could be forgiven and so that you could be a part of a redeemed community called the church. 

Second, Jesus conceived of a community of followers who are unified under him, who love each other, and who serve him together. Consider the following progression of New Testament evidence. 

In John 17:20-26, Jesus prays for the unity and mutual love of those who believe in him. In Acts 2:42-47, the Holy Spirit guides those who believe in Jesus to be together in devoted learning, fellowship, worship, and sharing meals. 

Then the Apostle Paul carries this idea further in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, where he compares each individual believer to a part of a human body; there is the eye, the hand, the ear, the nose, the feet, and so forth. Paul makes it clear that these parts need each other. They don’t function in isolation. No part can do what it is designed to do unless it is connected to the body. And each part needs the other parts. The same is true for Christians. 

Finally, Hebrews 10:24-25 makes it clear that we are not to stop meeting together for corporate worship, instruction, and service until Jesus comes back.  Put all of these ideas together and you see what being a member of a local church should be.

There is another reason that’s persuasive for involvement in a local church. 

There now exists sociological research that complements what the Bible teaches about the importance of being active in a local church. I don’t have room to go into all the details, but one article I came across stated, “Our findings aren’t unique. A number of large, well-designed research studies have found that religious service attendance is associated with greater longevity, less depression, less suicide, less smoking, less substance abuse, better cancer and cardiovascular-disease survival, less divorce, greater social support, greater meaning in life, greater life satisfaction, more volunteering, and great civic engagement.” 

Wow! That’s a powerful statement. It seems that regular church attendance is one of the healthiest practices we can engage in. But this is just what one would expect if God is real and the Bible is accurate in what it teaches. 


(David Pool is pastor at Grace Point in Powell.)