With the risk, uncertainty, and aggravation we face from COVID, why bother trying to have church meetings? Valid question! And there are good reasons.
In the book of Acts, we read about the earliest days of the Church. Chapter 2 says that every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts (2:46).
From the earliest days of Christianity, followers of Jesus have gathered regularly. After almost two thousand years of Christianity, we can see that no matter what culture, nation, ethnicity, geographic location, political affiliation, believers have met regularly. Why?
As we read about the Early Church in the book of Acts, we see that they met together for five reasons. These five purposes have remained the focus of local churches for many generations.
First, Christians meet together to worship. Worship is singing and saying things that honor God. We worship God because we love him, and because he loved us first.
The premier act of Christian worship is the Lord’s Supper. Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper in the upper room with his disciples just hours before he went to the cross. Since that night, Christians have gathered regularly and shared the bread and cup as reminders of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for our sin, and as an act of worship.
The second purpose for Christians meeting together is discipleship. Discipleship is learning to be more like Jesus. Jesus’ instruction for all believers is to make disciples, teaching them to keep (obey)all that he commanded. Discipleship is more than gaining knowledge. It is applying truth. The goal of discipleship is transformation, lives transformed into the image of Christ.
Living a godly life in an ungodly world is filled with difficulties. We need encouragement and accountability from one another to succeed. So, we meet together regularly. Small groups like Sunday school are ideal for discipleship.
Third, Christians meet together for witnessing. Jesus’ instruction for all believers to make disciples starts with baptizing them. Baptism marks conversion. Conversions come from witnessing, telling others about Jesus, what he has done for us and what he will do for them. We meet to learn how to witness and to organize our witnessing activities.
We also witness to the community by gathering regularly for worship, fellowship and discipleship. When people see us faithfully meeting together, they know that we take our Christianity seriously.
Fourth, churches meet to do ministry. We help others in the name of Jesus. We show God’s love in practical ways. Jesus spoke to his disciples about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, checking on the sick, and visiting those in prison.
Finally, the fifth reason Christians meet together regularly is for fellowship. Those who have saving faith in Jesus share a common spiritual family. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We share our lives with one another, which requires us to spend time together in person.
Jesus promised that his Church will survive even the gates of Hades. Since the beginning, churches have endured many intense hardships and persecutions. Be encouraged. Jesus’ Church will survive COVID.
May God keep us together and enable us to grow and to serve,