What is it we gather in church for?

How many times have you heard preachers speak about how we come to church on a Sunday to meet with God? I hear that sort of thing and think: oh, really? Do I need to come to church for that? Surely I can meet with God any time anywhere!

Though yes, there are places where we might find it easier to hear God, easier to sense his presence – but this varies a lot from one person to another, and it also depends on the atmosphere in a particular church, or even a particular service in that church. I love my church and have no inclination to look for other pastures, but I’m not going to pretend it’s perfect and that everything there works for me all the time. There is plenty of stuff in how our services are run that doesn’t help me sense God’s presence, there’s stuff that even gets in the way for me. So no, I do not go to church in order to meet with God – though I do sometimes bump into him there, and it’s pretty wonderful when that happens.

But last night our visiting preacher said something which I felt was very true: he talked about the importance of meeting together in order to remind ourselves and one another what it is we believe and why. How after a week in the midst of the cynical world out there, it is helpful to come together with fellow believers and repeat the stuff we believe in, reinforce it in our minds, say it aloud, sing it, hear it spoken from the pulpit – in preparation for another week out there amongst the scoffers.

I think that is definitely one of the reasons why going to church is good for us.

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8 thoughts on “What is it we gather in church for?

  1. For me church is the opportunity to worship with other members of The Body Of Christ. Certainly I can meet God anywhere for He is everywhere. But worshiping together with a group of like-minded believers is an experience you don’t get in your living room. Also, I am Catholic and for us there is the added blessing of the Eucharist and what it means to us, something not available in every church.

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  2. One of the things I really liked about the book, the Shack, was the way the author wove together a concept of the unity of God. Yes, God is triune, but the parts of the Trinity don’t just exist, they commune with each other. The story gave a very tangible sense of how God communes with God and how God longs to commune with us. I think that’s probably one of the things that I see coming out of regular gatherings of believers. We commune with each other, we commune with God, and we communally commune with God. There’s three directions of unity (and love) going on.

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  3. Though I speak to God on my own, and sometimes I hear him speak to me on my own, and more often, have a general sense that he is with me, without words – I don’t feel fully myself on my own. I am more fully myself when I am with like-minded people. And when I am worshipping God with like-minded people, and hearing the word of God with like-minded people, and presenting petitions and intercessions with like-minded people. When these things are happening there is a bigger ‘me’ worshipping God, receiving from God etc than when I am on my own. And, since ‘the LORD inhabits the praises of his people’ , I am more conscious of that presence, because some of my spiritual senses are in my brothers and sisters, and I know Him through them.

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  4. Robert – yes, I appreciate that we are not all the same and that what works for me is not necessarily going to work for you (and vice versa).

    Meg and Michael – thank you for sharing something of what you find helpful about going to church. Of course I wasn’t ruling out other reasons, just focusing on one in particular in this post. (Watch this space – I’m intending to post a more comprehensive post on reasons we go to church.)

    Tina – cool!

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    • “Watch this space – I’m intending to post a more comprehensive post on reasons we go to church.”

      Who knows, this might still happen some day. :)

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  5. I know I don’t go to church as much as I want to. And I like the way you put it, that you sometimes bump into God in church. Yes, off course we can meet God anywhere, or rather it’s impossible to hide from Him.

    But I still go to church and I ask myself why? Because it’s … let me think a moment. Well, because that’s where I meet other Christians. The whole week I’m with other people from different religious background and coming to church is … a place to recharge and renew fellowship with family. (Technically, church members are family).

    Mr Garak

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    • “The whole week I’m with other people from different religious background and coming to church is … a place to recharge and renew fellowship with family.” – That’s one of the reasons for me too. There’s something really valuable about just being in the same place together.

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