Why Is Church Attendance Important?
If this sounds odd or somehow not quite right, that is because it is. What we are seeing here is not a positive individualism that says, “I am responsible for the conduct of my life — my attitudes and actions,” but rather a negative individualism, which disregards any notion of corporate responsibility, accountability, or effort. It is an individualism that has become narcissistic, which, in turn, always corrodes the human spirit, becoming nihilism. As noted by writer Lewis Lapham:
“Except in a few well-publicized instances (enough to lend credence to the iconography painted on the walls of the media), the rigorous practice of rugged individualism usually leads to poverty, ostracism and disgrace.”
This is true of temporal matters as well as spiritual. Those who reject the need for corporate worship and fellowship often find themselves drifting away from the faith altogether, having no support structure with like-minded people.
God created us to be communal beings. From the moment humanity was created, God noted that it was not good for us to be alone.
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found (Genesis 2:18-20).
We do not thrive and grow alone, but rather experience an absence of both dynamic faith and growth. Scripture tells us that community is important for many reasons:
- It is evidence that we walk in the light (1 John 1:7). We fulfill Christ’s commands by helping those in our faith community (Galatians 6:2).
- It provides us with prayer support for our healing, which is not found elsewhere (James 5:16). It is the place where we can challenge each other and help each other grow to maturity (Proverbs 27:17).
- It is the place where Christ promised His presence would be (Matthew 18:20). It is the place where we can be encouraged by each other’s faith in times of abundance, as well as in times of difficulty (Romans 1:11-12).
- We are not just individuals, but part of the Body of Christ, and part of our calling is to show concern for the other members of that Body (1 Corinthians 12:25-27).
- We are called by Christ to this one Body, and He expects us to be in unity with that Body (Ephesians 4:2-6). It is the place where we can use the gifts God has given us, loving and serving others without complaining or resentment (1 Peter 4:8-11).
Community is taken very seriously by Scripture and thus has been taken seriously by the church. Those who refuse, for whatever reasons, to be a part of an assembly should ask themselves some difficult questions. Am I fulfilling the Lord’s commands by ignoring the community He established for my benefit? Is my choice not to attend a church based on solid scriptural principles, or is it really based on my own preferences, prejudices, or emotions? If you are serious about your personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then you should be serious about fulfilling all that He expects of you, and not just the parts that you agree with, that make you comfortable and that do not challenge you to be more like Him. If you had a bad experience at one church, you should seek to forgive and reconcile with the offending person, not forsake the Body of Christ. Or if it is just personal preference, you must understand that you and I do not make the rules of discipleship, but Christ alone does. He has clearly established a community, which you and I are expected to be a part of in good times and bad, regardless of your preferences. The choice is clear: discipleship or pride.