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Why Go to Church When I Can Watch Online?

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Why go to church when I can watch online? This was a great question posed to me last week by a good friend. He forced me to stop and think about what I believe. See if you agree or not.

Why Go to Church When You Can Watch Online?

Why go to church? Because your church needs you.

I’m not talking about the building or the organization. Rather, the people of God need what you can offer.

Your physical presence, words of encouragement, and acts of service—combined with what others bring, is what makes the people of God. When you “go to church” with missional eyes opened wide, you arrive early and stay late, you engage in conversations with other followers of Jesus, you look for people who need to be encouraged, and you lean into “coincidental” conversations with people that God will bring along your path.

Go to church because it’s not just about spiritual food.

If going to “church” once a week was just about gaining what you need spiritually to make it through another week, then tuning in online would be just fine. You could get what you need on Christian radio, reading books, studying the Bible, or watching your favorite TV preacher.

But the purpose of church is so much broader than that. It is about corporate worship, praying and studying the Bible together, serving one another and reaching out in mission together. This can’t be done in isolation.

Why go to church? Because you need the church.

You need the “church” (those people who are followers of Jesus and gather together with your congregation) more than you think you do.

There is so much in Scripture about the relational aspects of the church — “love one another, be devoted to one another, encourage one another, instruct one another, greet one another” — and these can’t be done as well in a virtual environment.


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Tim Stevens served as the executive pastor of Granger Community Church in Granger, IN, for twenty years before joining Vanderbloemen Search Group as the Director of the Executive Search Consultant Team where he helps churches and ministries around the world find their key staff. Tim has a passion for the local church and equipping leaders with practical advice and tools about church staffing and church leadership. He has co-authored three books with Tony Morgan, including Simply Strategic Stuff, Simply Strategic Volunteers, and Simply Strategic Growth, and authored three books of his own, including Fairness Is Overrated: And 51 Other Leadership Principles To Revolutionize Your Workplace. Connect with Tim at LeadingSmart.com.