Why do you come to church? What difference does it really make after all? In fact, can I be healthy as a believer and continue worshipping online only? These are really great questions and ones that we find ourselves asking more and more as we look at COVID-19 in the rearview mirror. I am so proud of how our church, and many others, make necessary pivots to enhance digital connections when we were forced to isolate ourselves in quarantine.
We have learned valuable lessons and will continue to connect with people using these tools. It provides a way for shut-ins to stay connected, parents with sick kids to remain engaged, and new members of our community to test drive the church without ever walking through the doors. That remaining true, it still doesn’t answer the initial questions.
Hebrews 10 challenges us to walk in confidence because of the work of Christ. His sacrifice and continuing service as our High Priest forever changed our relationship with God and our relationship with other believers. In fact, we are challenged to rally together in fellowship, worship, and ministry as a response to the work of Jesus.
Much of Hebrews 10:23-25 emphasizes the need for encouraging others, challenging others, pushing others, and stretching others to grow in grace on mission with God. Why? Because the imminent return of Jesus is soon, and we have work to do!
So much of church culture has refined into a consumer mentality. We come to church to receive good music, good teaching, good coffee, and good community. Those things are valuable; however, Hebrews 10:23-25 flips it over. I don’t come to church to receive encouragement. I should come to encourage. In other words, it is about my contribution and not my consumption.
Our humanistic ideals love to make everything around us all about us. What can I get? How can I be served? How can my preferences be met? The beauty and the challenge of the body of Christ is that we recognize we are here for Christ and to spur one another on to become more like Him.
While some may argue that I can experience community online, I challenge you to reconsider. Just because we attached an adjective of community to an online forum, it is not the same as physical community. We are wired for touch, presence, and connection.
Please understand me. I am not condemning those who worship online. I am not saying we shouldn’t Livestream. In fact, we are committed to providing that with excellence. I am saying that God has challenged and called us to rally with other believers for God’s glory, contribute to the mission of the church, and encourage one another to love and good works. At the end of the day, physical presence is required to accomplish all of that healthily and sustainably. With love I say, hope to see you soon.