The importance of the corporate gathering of the Church
Over the last 18 months, the pandemic has drastically changed our lives and has caused us to question what is truly essential. For Christians, one of those things may be the role of the Church and the physical gathering of church members on Sunday mornings. Around the world, governments have placed restrictions on churches by implementing capacity limits, minimizing church activities and even enforcing the cancellation of in-person church services, causing many churches to move their services online. Many of us have made a habit of attending services from our homes but as churches begin to re-open to in-person services again, it begs the question, “Why is the corporate gathering of the Church important?”
I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord!"
Since the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and the first members of the Church, God’s presence no longer needed to reside in a physical place like the Tabernacle or the Temple. Now each one of Christ’s followers is a temple of God as He lives within us and goes with us wherever we go. As a result, the Church is not just a building, but it is the hands and feet of Jesus on earth. Over the pandemic, many have reasoned that this means that Church online is an acceptable workaround to in-person services, but the Bible is clear that the physical gathering of the church is essential to the spiritual health of every Christian. Corporate gathering is a command that God expects us to uphold, even in the midst of persecution like the early Church experienced.
The Christian life was not meant to be lived out in isolation. Just like the bricks of a building or the cells of a body, each individual brick or cell is complete on its own but they produce much greater results when they come together to make a building or complete a body. Similarly, God made us social beings who were made to live in relationship with one another and with Him. When we gather together as the Body of Christ for teaching, worship. prayer and fellowship, we experience the fullness of God’s spiritual benefits for our lives. It gives us encouragement, helps us from backsliding and fills us with a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit to be able to face the battles of the week. When we gather together, we publicly demonstrate our obedience to God while also making a public statement of our faith in our communities that may draw others to Christ in a way that a media-based ministry cannot. When we privatize our Christianity, we limit the impact we can truly do for God’s Kingdom.
Ultimately, as Christians, we can’t claim to love Christ and neglect His Church. The in-person gathering of the Church is essential, despite what our government and health authorities may say. If you haven't been going to church lately, I encourage you to be obedient to God’s command to never cease meeting together. Your spiritual health depends upon it.
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