What this is about is…. Missing corporate worship that traditionally takes place in a church building. Then finding something you believe is a plausible substitute that God is good with.
For instance I have people periodically ask me why can’t I worship God while I’m (fill in the blank)…Hunting, fishing, riding my bike, running, sitting on my porch (becoming known as porch church), riding my motorcycle, etc…
I have been, and continue to be, a big believer in the power of the gathering (the church) that takes place every Sunday in a church building. Why? I’m reminded of those that began to skip meeting together in the book of Hebrews:
Hebrews 10:24-26New International Version (NIV)
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
So why does missing worship matter? Because it matters to God! Now, once again I’m not talking about the usual reasons we miss. I am referring to those things that we believe are plausible substitutes.
Something holy happens when we all gather to worship – prayers, songs, God’s word is read and expounded upon, the offering is taken, we’re informed on how we’re impacting others in our community, we hear who’s sick and can call, visit, provide food, communion, baptisms, fellowship, we come together to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
I heard a story where a man was in conversation with his minister and asked, “Why can’t I worship God while I’m hunting or fishing?” The minister replied, maybe you can but do you?
There are so many facets to worship that you’re just not going to replicate on your porch or in the woods!
Then there is the old adage, WWJD – what would Jesus do? This question seems to be asked by those that haven’t read their bibles. Those that have ask WDJD – what DID Jesus do? Well, here is what scripture said Jesus DID:
Luke 4:16-18New International Version (NIV)
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom.
Each Sunday he went to the Jewish version of church – the synagogue. So even Jesus thought is was important to be with the gathering each Sunday!
Perhaps one of the biggest dangers of missing corporate worship is that it can start off slow then snowball. One Sunday becomes two. Two Sundays becomes three, etc… The more you miss the less it starts to bother you. And when missing corporate worship on a regular basis doesn’t bother you, then the odds are high you’ll never attend worship again until there is a crisis. When missing corporate worship no longer bothers you then you may already be in a spiritual death spiral.
Don’t believe me? Look at the number of empty churches in Europe. All once full. But one person at a time found something else to do than attend worship. Then another then another until no one was attending. It didn’t happen all at once. Just one person at a time, one Sunday then two etc… Until missing being with the gathering no longer bothered them.
So, don’t give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.