Each time the people of God gather together in my local church and I am not with them I miss something. That is not to say that I never miss… there are vacations and other necessary things that have caused me to miss attending my church and I am the Pastor. But, there is a great difference in missing church for a legitimate reason, and skipping church for other things such as hobbies, sports, entertainment or staying at home just to stay. God created the Church and then created me with a need for community. I need the body of Christ and they need me. I came across this blog some time ago and thought it would be wise for us to be aware of some of the things we miss when we do not come together as believers to worship.
I read recently that my denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, has a total of 16 million members, but on a typical Sunday only 6 million of those members attend their local church’s corporate worship gathering. Considering the importance and necessity of corporate worship for the Christian, this is a very discouraging statistic. Not only is it disheartening, it is also spiritually dangerous for those who profess Christ, but regularly miss worship with their church family. Below, I want to list some reasons and explain why skipping church is a really bad idea. 
- You will miss out on God’s primary design for your spiritual growth and well-being.
The central aspect of corporate worship is the preaching of God’s Word. The proclamation of Scriptures is God’s primary means for a disciple of Jesus to grow in spiritual maturity. When a professing Christian misses church they are missing God’s prescribed process for spiritual growth.
- You disobey God.
Corporate worship is not optional for the Christian, according to the Bible. Hebrews 10:24-25 makes this clear:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some…”
Author and pastor, Greg Gilbert comments on this passage, “At the very least, therefore, we have to say that, for every Christian, attendance at church gatherings is not optional. The author of Hebrews—and therefore the Holy Spirit himself—commands Christians to be present when the believers to whom he or she belongs gather.”
At my church, we reflect this biblical command in our church covenant, which states:
“We commit, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit to…continue meeting together regularly [and] work together for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry in this church, as we sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines”
God’s people ought to strive to keep God’s commands. One of his commands is meeting together regularly for corporate worship.
- You make a statement to the world that God is not worthy of worship.
What we spend our time on shows what we truly value. If you miss church in order to sleep in or to attend a sporting activity, what does this say about the worth you ascribe to God? Replacing your church’s regularly scheduled worship time with some other activity demonstrates that God is not actually worthy of our worship; something else is. Unfortunately, this is the attitude and conduct of unbelievers, not God’s people.
- You can’t minister to anyone.
Too often people think that corporate worship is only about getting their own spiritual needs met. And therefore if they don’t have any spiritual needs at that time then there is no reason for them to attend. The problem with this view of worship is that it’s too individualistic and self-centered. As Christians, our lives are to be spent serving, helping, and encouraging others.
Missing church robs you of an opportunity to serve someone other than yourself. If you are gone on Sunday morning you can’t offer a word of encouragement to someone who needs it; you can’t welcome an unbeliever who doesn’t usually come to church; you can’t pray with a fellow member who is suffering; you can’t encourage the other members with your voice during times of corporate singing; you can’t encourage your pastor with your presence while he preaches the sermon he has labored over all week. These are just a few ways you can’t serve if you are absent on Sunday morning.
- You skip out on a foretaste of heaven.
God created us to worship him. That’s the primary reason you exist. This is why the church was redeemed and this is what God’s people will do when Jesus returns and restores our fallen world. Revelation 22:3 gives a picture of this:
“No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.”
In 1988, three whales became trapped under a sheet of ice near the city of Point Barrow, Alaska. In an attempt to save the whales, rescuers dug a series of breathing holes in the ice leading back to the ocean. Two of the three whales were rescued because they were able to get the oxygen they needed and were guided in the correct direction. Similarly, Sunday morning worship is a like string of breathing holes the Lord provides for his people guiding and sustaining them until they make it to their true home in heaven.
 These reasons do not pertain to people who are providentially hindered. I believe there are circumstances in which it is appropriate and even necessary to miss corporate worship with your church family. Sickness, physical disablement, being out of town to take care of one’s elderly parents are just a few examples.
Nathan Rose, a Regular Contributor to For The Church, is the senior pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Liberty, Missouri and a Legacy Church Planting coach with NAMB. His love for the local church propels all he does, including his current pursuit of a PhD in Historical Theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Rachel, have three young children. You can can connect with him on Twitter at @nathanrose33.