Why Meeting Matters
Five benefits of coming together for worship
Meeting matters. While online services have been an important part of ministry during the pandemic, there are certain aspects of church gatherings we cannot replicate on our individual living room couches. This is why we should all look forward to gathering again, when it’s safe to do so.
The New Testament predictably has a lot to say about what we do when we meet. Hebrews 10:25 should be well known to anyone in church ministry. It begins by instructing Christians not to give up meeting together, but it also includes a positive imperative to encourage one another.
In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul writes at length about the form and function of worship. While this passage mostly addresses prophecy and speaking in tongues, Paul does make a point in verse 3 about why we gather: “But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.”
Later, in verse 26, Paul addresses not just speaking, but singing as well. Whatever we do in our services, Paul says, “must be done so that the church may be built up.”
Similarly, Paul mentions music in Ephesians 5:19-20, telling church members to speak “to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit” and to “make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
From these teachings, five benefits of church meetings are evident. Let’s look at each one in the context of today’s worship service.
When Paul says to “make music from your heart,” he’s talking about an overflow from within that expresses the great joy of the Lord. When we get together, there is a celebration. We get to see and hear about what the Lord has done. After a long week, full of ups and downs, it’s time to let others know how good God is.
No matter what we face today, there are reasons to celebrate. In the corporate world, there is often an emphasis on the “wins” of the organization. In the corporate worship world, we focus on Jesus and what He is doing in our lives.
As people hear about how the Lord has answered prayers, faith rises, and thankfulness follows.
Each time we get together, we always have more to celebrate because there are more people present with more stories. As you look around on Sunday, you’ll see the faces of people who have experienced victory this week. Celebrate with them!
A number of studies have demonstrated a correlation between gratitude and well-being. Thankful people are generally happier. And as followers of Christ, we can always find reasons to be thankful.
One way to help one another grow in gratitude is to express it. As people hear about how the Lord has answered prayers, faith rises, and thankfulness follows. Coming together as the body of Christ should inspire us to honor and thank Him.
One aspect of meeting together we often overlook is the strengthening of the Church. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Such sharpening is an essential part of discipleship. Physical proximity makes it easier for faith-growing interactions to take place and for influential relationships to form.
Sunday is often a breather from the rest of the week. The church is a shelter from the storms of life. We look back in gratitude, while also looking forward in anticipation. The same God who gives us reasons to celebrate fills us with hope for the future.
We may worship with someone who persevered through a tough situation and experienced a miraculous answer to prayer. We may sit near a believer who recently received a diagnosis of cancer but is still singing and smiling.
Fellowship with others who are trusting God, and experiencing His grace, right where they are can be a great source of encouragement.
Meeting together also provides an opportunity to comfort one another. Living a life of faith in today’s world can feel lonely and isolating. But being around people of like faith has a way of energizing us. For a few hours, we no longer feel like outsiders.
That comfort continues long after the physical gathering. When we meet together and focus on these five essentials, it makes a difference throughout the week. We feel transformed and refreshed, ready for whatever the world throws at us.
We can take that celebration, thanksgiving, strength, encouragement and comfort with us into the week ahead. Then we can return the following week to recharge one another again.