Have you ever asked yourself why go to church? Wouldn’t it be easier just to stay in bed a little longer? What do you get out of church? Why should we attend church weekly? Why should we spend time with God’s people?
I want us to understand the importance of regular church attendance.
Meaning of Apostle
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 introduces us to the apostles. In the original Greek the word was apostoloi plural of the word apostolos which, when it was written did not have the overblown meaning that we have attached to it today. It simply meant a messenger. The apostles were first called such when they were sent out. Should churches call some ministers apostles today or is a humbler word like delegate, missionary, envoy or messenger more appropriate? The twelve had a special place, but the word apostle was used of others even in the Bible. Can we attach too high a meaning to the word letting it become a tool of self-promoting egotism for those who use the word to describe their ministries? It is symptomatic of our human vanity. Importantly, Jesus set us an example of humility (Matthew 11:29). Yet on the other hand, what is important is the message. It is simply the most important message in the world and to miss out on it week after week leaves a big hole in our lives. Like the original messengers (apostles), one important reason to go to church is to meet with Jesus and report in.
What Kind of Vacation
What kind of vacation is best? The commercial world entices us to all kinds of exotic and expensive vacations so they can make a living, but is that the kind of vacation that we really need? Is it to experience new cultures and excitement? That is okay and has its place. What is the purpose of a vacation? What kind of vacation do we really need? Most of us occasionally need a rest, time out. In Mark 6:30-34, 53-56Jesus introduced the concept of a quiet place to get some rest. Rest for the body and mind are good. But, the author of Hebrews described a place, the promised land and a time, the weekly rest as not that true real rest. Each of them was a mere foretaste of a place of eternal resting with God (Hebrews 3-4). Another important aspect of rest is time with God and an important part of that time is in the company of the saints at church each week. Like the original disciples, we need a rest and part of that rest is to be with other disciples.
Why Go to Church
Why go to church? Statistics prove that those who attend church regularly actually live longer and so do their children. Regular church attendance also reduces our children's risk of involvement in drunkenness, drugs or suicide. They rebound faster from depression, have lower risk of crime, better odds for a happy life, have a nurturing family atmosphere, and better odds of an active church life in their adults years. I go to church to be a part of God’s kingdom on earth, to live and learn the Gospel, worship God, to encourage and be encouraged, to pray, feed my soul.  Even in the most boring sermons I hear God’s voice, I learn to forgive and be forgiven, to rest with the disciples of Jesus and touch his cloak so that I may be healed (Mark 6:30-34, 53-56). One of the more important reasons to go to church is to touch the cloak of Jesus and be healed.
What Did We Do Last Week
What did we do last week? What do we have to report to Jesus? Did we spread the message? The word apostle was not originally so much a title as a descriptive term of what people did. It meant a person sent out with a message. In that sense, we are all sent out with a message. Could it be that apostolic succession is wrongly defined? Could it be that all Christians are assigned to go out with a message after having met with Christ each week? Could it be that we have gotten church wrong? Could it be that we are here to be debriefed by Jesus (Mark 6:30-34, 53-56)? Are we here as a social club to meet with each other or to meet with Jesus and then leave with a message to take to the world? Fellowship is an important aspect of church life, but the most important part is the message that goes with our lives as we leave.
CEO or Shepherd
Of all the titles that the corporate world has chosen for leaders, I cannot recall anyone using the word pastor or shepherd. Imagine a leading company headed by a corporate shepherd. It just does not seem fashionable. Jesus was pleased to be called the Great Shepherd and was saddened by large crowds who were like sheep without a shepherd (Mark 6:30-34, 53-56). What would corporate life be like if earthly CEO’s behaved more like caring shepherds? Would they rob mom and pop investors of their modest investment portfolios by stealing from them grossly excessive salaries? Would they feed their flocks crumbs while they dined opulently and sacrifice them all just for greed? Or, would they be selfless shepherds like Jesus Christ, the Great Shepherd and CEO of the universe, and be willing to suffer so that others may live? We cannot learn to be the right kind of leaders (shepherds) unless we are hearing from the Great Shepherd each week.
Attending church each week is an important reminder of the Gospel message. An important part of rest is time together as God’s people. Let’s be a part of God’s kingdom on earth and be at church as often as possible.