By Tim Purcell, Superintendent of the Iowa/Minnesota District of the Wesleyan Church
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
— Hebrews 10:25.
“I don’t need to go to church to worship God.”
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that statement or some variation of it. You probably aren’t ready for what I’m going to say next: I agree.
It’s true. We don’t need a special building or a special day or a special time to worship. In fact, some of my best times of worship occur when I’m riding one of my horses on a wooded trail. My poor horses have heard more than their share of off-key worship choruses as I’ve praised God for the beauty of His creation.
You may find yourself talking to God while you are fishing, golfing or even just driving down the highway. It’s true; we don’t need to go to church to worship God.
But I do go to church. Every week. And I would still go even if I wasn’t a pastor. But I don’t go to church just to worship God. I go to church to worship God with other people.
“My relationship with God is private — it’s just between God and me.” That’s another well-worn line that I’ve heard countless times.
No matter how well-intentioned, that’s an inaccurate statement. A relationship with God is personal, but it’s never private. Christianity is not a solo act. God’s intention is that we worship and serve in community.
I know that going to church doesn’t guarantee that genuine community with other believers will happen. But I know this. Not going will guarantee that it won’t happen.
None of us are strong enough to make it on our own. We need God, we need the church and we need each other.