Every Sunday thousands, if not millions, of people gather across our nation. We come together in our buildings, attend classes or small groups, sing songs, hear a sermon preached, and then go home and eat lunch. Next Sunday we’ll do the same thing over again. Have you ever stopped and thought to yourself why are we doing this, what is the point, or how is this supposed to look? In other words, why do we gather?
I think the major reasons or purposes behind our gathering can be summed up in three categories.
- Worship: Our primary purpose in the church, and in life in general, is to worship and glorify God. Paul tells us in Colossians 3:16 to “sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God”. We have been “predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will, so that we who had already put our hope in the Messiah might bring praise to His glory” (Ephesians 1:11-12). As we gather we behold the majesty of God and we join the heavenly chorus in declaring Holy! Holy! Holy! is the Lord Almighty who is the only one worthy to receive all honor and glory and power and praise (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8, 11)!
- Nurture: Believers must be nurtured and matured in the faith. Jesus has given this task to the church. As it says in Ephesians 4:11-13, “And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.” As the church, we must proclaim Christ and warn and teach everyone with all wisdom so that they may be presented mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28).
- Evangelize: The church’s primary ministry to the world is to share with them the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. All men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and because of that sin will die and spend eternity in Hell (Romans 6:23). God has provided a way of salvation for anyone who will repent of their sin and call upon the name of the Lord (Mark 1:15; John 3:16; Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13). God has entrusted this message of salvation to the church, and we have been commanded to take it to the world (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:7-8).
While this does not touch on every purpose of the church, I believe this is a good summary of why we gather. We gather to lift high the name of our God and give Him all glory and honor. We gather to equip and be equipped to carry out the mission God has entrusted to us. We gather in order that we may mobilize ourselves and our resources in order to carry this gospel to the whole world so that through the preaching of His word and by the power of the Holy Spirit sinners may be reconciled to the Holy God by repenting of sin and trusting in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. May God make it so and may He receive all praise!