In the cultural shifts of faith and religion, we are in a season where young Americans are less likely to attend church services than they have at any time in recent history. I have had conversations with believers, young and old, who state that they don’t need church to be with God, and that they prefer to worship God on their own time, in their own spaces, alone. However, I’d like to make a fervent plea as to the benefits, even the necessity, of gathering together in community to worship.
Firstly, community worship is a holy requirement, a foundational tenant in the Christian faith. During the early church days, the the writer of Hebrews pleads with the people to not neglect meeting together (Heb 10:25). Jesus Himself promised that where two or three gather in His name, He is there with them (Matt 18:20). Because we are members of one body, it is only fitting that we would have moments of coming together to seek and respond to our King. The heavenly throne room resounds with the continual worship of men and of angels. To the degree that we embrace and mirror this reality is the degree to which Heaven can become accessible to us on earth (Matt 6:10).
Secondly, worshipping in community keeps us humble. There’s a gentle humbling in our hearts that happens every time we choose to enter wholeheartedly into worship with others at a local body. As I sit down in my chair on the third row, I am choosing to lay down my own preference of worship style, my own sense of what the Holy Spirit wants to do, even what I’m personally needing or wanting from the Lord. This isn’t about me. It’s about us. It’s about touching something together that we cannot touch alone. It’s about touching the heart of the One Who deserves every heart and every voice. Our strength will only multiply as we lay hold of His presence with holy violence together. We can reach further as we reach together. We can sing louder when our voices united in praise give rise to a sound that touches His heart more deeply than any voice lifted alone.
As we choose to humble ourselves and enter into worship with one heart and one voice, power is released. Hunger sparks hunger. The prophetic word is released that brings edification to all. The Word brings instruction. Hearts and minds united together carries spiritual power that moves the heavens. Through the power of agreement, whatever is bound on earth is bound in Heaven, and whatever is loosed on earth is loosed in Heaven. (Matt 16:19). In the book of Acts, the people assembled to worship and pray and the Lord responded with power.
“And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).
There is an Acts 4 reality awaiting the people that will seek God fervently together, even in the face of persecution.
Worshipping in community is precious because it is a glorious foreshadowing of the worship to come, when the radiant Bride has made herself ready and is united in a cry that causes the Bridegroom to come forth. I make the weekly choice to show up to my local body and give my best to the Lord in the place of community worship. I do it because there is something better, something higher than simply satisfying my own needs. I do it because I recognize that I in and of myself do not have the ability to give Jesus the honor He is due. Jesus deserves the praise of every tongue. He died to have a glorious Bride, represented by every tribe and people group. Will you join me to see the desires of Jesus’ heart accomplished? Embrace the humility and give yourself wholeheartedly to worshipping Jesus in community. If we do, we will shake cities, nations, and the heavens.