NOTE: This article originally appeared here on the Bible Mesh blog.
I missed church for five weeks in a row recently because of circumstances surrounding the birth of my second child. We have a healthy baby girl now, and all is well. And I wish I didn’t have to miss so much church.
However, God used that season of being away to remind me how valuable it is to gather with the body of Christ weekly.
Consider the following:
Preaching complements personal Bible study in the life of a believer.
During my absence, I routinely read the Bible and prayed, and to great profit. Yet on my first Sunday back, the pastor addressed a subject that God had also been addressing with me personally.
The conjunction of private devotions and public proclamation was powerful. And I’m not alone in that experience.
Many times, people marveled that a sermon touches on a subject they were already considering—whether harboring unkind thoughts, disrespecting parents or dealing with an unbelieving spouse. In His providence, God has a way of orchestrating preaching and private devotionals to work together.
When you’re not attending church, you can’t experience that.
In a local church, members demonstrate a special type of kindness to one another.
People show kindness in other arenas of life too. And many times, they do it with explicitly Christian motives. Still, family members, coworkers and even strangers often do nice things for us without intending it as an expression of Christ’s love.
When God’s people in a church care for one another, on the other hand, they generally do it with an explicit intention to show Christ-like compassion.
That was evident to me when members of our Sunday School class showed up at our house to provide meals following the birth of our daughter.
When you’re not part of a church, you miss out on giving and receiving that type of love.