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Why We Need To Attend Church

When I first became a Christian, about fourteen years ago, I thought that I could do it on my own, by retiring to my rooms and reading theology, and wouldn’t go to the churches and Gospel Halls; I disliked very much their hymns which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate music. But as I went on I saw the merit of it. I came up against different people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit just began peeling off. I realized that the hymns (which were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren’t fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit.
-C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock

More often than I like, I hear of individuals and families who tell me that they do "church online". Usually that involves gathering in their living room, turning on and sitting in front of the computer to "do" church. It is unfortunate though to talk about "doing" church because church isn't something to "do", rather it is something to "be". We are called to be the church to one another and to a world in need of hope. The church isn't a task to be done, rather it is a living organism, a family, a people.

I think Lewis' remarks above certainly challenge the notion of doing church online. Connecting with your church online while you are sick or traveling may be an OK "Plan B". Yet making online church your regular mode of church attendance, I believe is a dangerous thing.

To be a part of Christ's church is to be with God's people, even with all of our messiness. When we are in relationship with one another's messiness and brokenness we learn how to forgive, to repent, be patient, to love and to receive love and grace from others.

As part of a church community we allow God's people to speak grace, truth and love into our life- being Christ to us, sharpening us (Prov. 27:17) and helping us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.

Can online church be a substitute and surrogate for being with God's people? I believe not. What do you think? 


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