Why do Christians “go to church?” Many people would respond, “to worship God.” I don’t want to nix that notion entirely because I believe that we worship wherever we are, but I can’t find anything in the New Testament which suggests that our corporate meetings are or ought to be any more worshipful than the rest of our lives.
So, why did the first century Christians meet?
1 Cor. 14:26 says, “What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.”
They met together so that the whole group could be built up. At their gatherings the body of Christ was conditioned to accomplish the task it had been given. Think of church like a football team which spends time together in the gym and scrimmaging to improve its chances of winning the game.
Sadly, when we view our meetings as “going to worship” we confuse training with the game. Our collective time, money, and attention flow to bigger gyms and more exciting workouts. Sooner or later, we start high-fiving after a rigorous scrimmage and feel little tension to actually play the game.
Training is important but it only makes sense when we actually leave the gym and hit the field. God has called us to make disciples and to express his love. That’s the game. When we play the game, we’ll know our need for the training. No one will have to convince us to value our meetings. We won’t need to be enticed through high quality performances or programs. We won’t nit pick the details.
So, are there times and occasions when we especially worship? As a matter of fact, there are:
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:15-16