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What I Learned From Missing Church

Singing corporately with other believers nurtures the Christian’s soul.

At times, I sing to myself, and at times, I listen to Christian music. Both help my soul.

But there’s something about singing God’s praises with a roomful of other Christians that can’t be replicated through private enjoyment of music.

It’s a powerful reminder that we’re not alone in our quest to honor the Lord.

Giving is an act of worship, not merely a discipline.

There’s nothing wrong with giving online to your church or mailing a check when you can’t be there. Still, there’s something special about the moments in a worship service when the offering plates are passed.

Even if we’re not putting an offering in the plate that day, watching the ceremony reminds us that giving our money to God is a part of worship just as much as singing, praying or observing the Lord’s Supper.

There are other benefits of churchgoing that we can’t get merely through individual spirituality. These are just the ones that struck me most forcefully in light of my absence.

Of course, going to church can also be painful at times, as when God’s people are spiteful and cold.

Anyone who has been a churchgoer for any length of time (myself included) has a story about being hurt by church members. In a fallen world, the blessings of church attendance will always be mixed with sorrows.

Yet, the benefits of church attendance are not reserved only for those who attend exceptional churches. Whenever God’s Spirit-filled people gather around His Word, there is blessing.

If poor health, an unavoidable work schedule or other providential hindrances have kept you away from church for a season, this isn’t intended to make you feel false guilt. When God makes it impossible for His children to attend corporate worship, He provides for the health of their souls in other ways.

But if you have simply strayed from church, think about all you’re missing. As the writer of Hebrews says, do not forsake “our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25 NASB).

Hopefully you won’t have to be away as long as I was to realize the joys God has for you among His gathered saints.  

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David Roach is a writer in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and a contributor to both BibleMesh and Kairos Journal. He holds a philosophy degree from Vanderbilt University and earned his PhD in church history at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His writings have appeared in academic journals and various Southern Baptist denominational publications.