Yes, BE the Church—but Why You Need to GO to Church

You won’t score more points for attending, but church attendance still counts.

why you need to go to church

I’m a big believer in the New Testament reality that church is not a place we go, but who we are. I also very strongly believe there are reasons why you need to go to church and I’ll tell you why it still matters.

No, church attendance should not be the defining (sometimes the exclusive) feature of our Christian lives, as it has been for far too many Christians. As I’ve stated several times in the past, especially in my recent post “The Growing Disconnect Between Spiritual Hunger and Church Attendance,” God doesn’t take attendance.

Big churches don’t get more points. Small Churches don’t get fewer. And no churchgoer will get a bigger mansion inside the pearly gates for perfect attendance.

Because of this, there’s a growing movement of people who say they can be a Christian without going to church. They’re using the theology of being the church as an excuse for not going to church. That is misguided at best and Hebrews 10:25” href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>disobedient at worst.

It’s dangerous for individual believers and for the church as a whole to discount the value of churchgoing. And it’s unsupportable by scripture, which makes it clear that gathering with other believers is an essential aspect of faith. For instance, you can’t take communion alone—the word “communion” itself tells us that.

Your church-going experience may look nothing like mine. I’m not arguing for any particular format. But it matters that we go.

I was reminded of this truth in a completely unexpected way recently—by my Netflix and iTunes accounts. (Stay with me on this one.)

Events Draw Attention to Content

Movie-going is down in recent years. So are album sales. Executives in both industries (or is it one industry?) are wringing their hands, trying to understand why this is.

I think I know at least one reason.

Companies like Netflix, iTunes and Spotify have made watching a movie, buying an album or listening to a song as easy as tapping an icon on our phone. The convenience is great. But that convenience comes at a price.

I was trying to remember the last time I was excited about going to a movie or buying an album. The answer was, it doesn’t happen any more.

Some of that is my age. I get it.

But if you ask a younger person, you’ll find that the excitement we used to experience in going to the store to buy a much-awaited CD or LP is almost never felt by them. In part, it’s because the constant access to and presence of entertainment in our pockets has diminished the value of the event.

Sure there are still some “event” moments. People line up at midnight for a new iPhone, video game or superhero movie. But that just strengthens my point (which I will make soon, I promise). Why do people line up on the day of release, when they can wait a few days—sometimes just a few hours—and see the movie or buy the game without waiting in line?

While we’re at it, why do people like me still buy print books when we have an ebook reader?

Because the event matters. 

Opening a package, pulling out the book and feeling the heft of it as I turn paper pages gives weight to a book—literally and figuratively.

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Karl Vaters
Karl Vaters is the author of The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking That Divides Us. He’s been in pastoral ministry for over 30 years and has been the lead pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley, California for over 20 years. He’s also the founder of, a blog that encourages, connects and equips innovative Small Church pastors.