Watching church services on Facebook and YouTube in our sweats this past year has definitely helped us keep our faith and hope in God.
Still, there's no substitute for attending an in-person worship service and experiencing the immersing grace of the Holy Spirit!
If you have not been in church for the last year, it’s time to get back.
The Bible tells us:
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
That Day is approaching, perhaps quicker than we think, and we must make it a priority to obey this verse.
Here are six benefits of attending church in person that you can’t get at home, at least not in the same way.
1. The Presence of the Lord
The Holy Spirit is noticeably stronger when we meet together.
You may remember that when the Holy Spirit fell for the first time, He did not come on some super-holy individual living on a mountaintop.
As they worshiped, He joined them together in one Spirit as the Church.
The Holy Spirit still inspires us to praise and worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
But the Holy Spirit isn't the only member of the Trinity to be present in a church service. Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18:20)
Our Savior promised to be with us always. As the Head of the Church, He guides the various ministries, and He frequently does this by whispering to hearts during the service.
Not only are the Holy Spirit and Jesus present, but our guardian angels come with us to church, too. That means the spiritual atmosphere is further charged with angelic beings praising the Lord.
Angels are professional praisers, and they help make the spiritual environment special. (Rev. 5:11-12) This kind of atmosphere is something we cannot normally replicate at home.
So, as we worship and hear the Word in church, the Holy Spirit infuses our spirit with divine life and energy. So much so that when we leave the service, we go out differently than when we came in. We have more faith, more hope, more love, and more energy to face the challenges of the week.
When we take that vital step of going to an in-person church service, we draw near to the Lord, and He promised in response to draw near to us. (James 4:8)
Another awesome benefit of attending your local church is the social connections that you form.
God made us social creatures like Himself, and we need interaction even if we think we don’t. (1 Cor. 12:21)
We need to be smiled at, hugged, accepted, made to laugh, and encouraged.
As Christians, we are all baptized into the body of Christ, united together in His death, burial, and resurrection. (1 Cor. 12:12-27, Romans 6:3-6)
Partaking together of the body and blood of Christ in the unifying presence of the Holy Spirit produces an eternal bond unlike any other. (1 Cor. 10:16-17)
3. Hearing the Word
Reading the Bible at home is an essential life discipline. (John 8:31-32)
But even if you read it regularly, you still need to hear the Word preached by a minister who is trained in God’s Word. They share valuable insights and illustrations and motivate you to obey the Word.
At church, you get to hear what you don't know that you don't know.
Everyone filters Scripture through their background and experience. Plus, we all have blind spots, which are those areas where we can’t quite wrap our minds around the Bible’s truth.
So, for you and me to grow, it’s necessary to hear someone preach from a different perspective than our own. The preacher will confirm our solid foundation in Christ as well as expose our ignorance and blind spots to the light of truth.
4. Finding and Sharing Encouragement
The Lord desires to minister hope and encouragement to and through us.
In church, we acquire the faith, wisdom, hope, and prayer we need to be overcomers in life.
Our problems may seem overwhelming the night before the service, but afterward, they are manageable because the Lord has stirred our hope and encouraged our hearts.
For example, the apostle Barnabas, mentioned in the book of Acts, was a minister of encouragement who helped grow the church in Antioch. Hopefully, you have some Barnabas's in your church who help you, and, just maybe, you are one. If so, you need to be there to share your gift. (Acts 11:22-24)
5. Connecting to Your Support System
Not only do we experience fellowship at church, but we connect with an exceptional support team of Scripturally-minded individuals.
These are the people who pray for and counsel us according to God’s Word. Their prayerful touch and encouraging words mean so much, especially when we are going through things.
People who move from one city to another often do not realize how much they will miss their church support system until they no longer see those people every week.
Please don’t take for granted your brothers and sisters in the Lord, for they are a gift from God.
6. Ministering to Others
You go to church initially to receive the benefits we’ve talked about, but ultimately God wants you to become strong enough to minister to others.
Ministry does not always mean standing behind a pulpit and preaching. It can be as simple as smiling and greeting the people around you.
In the new birth, God gave you a gift that you need to use. Operating in this gift is natural to you.
So, volunteer in one of your church’s ministries, and you'll quickly discover where your gift lies.
For example, you might help as a hospitality worker, an usher, a greeter, a media tech, a children’s teacher, a youth worker, or be part of the music team.
Watching a service on social media has been a huge help during this past year, but now it's time to show up in person, receive the benefits of assembling together, and be the life-giving church Christ calls us to be.
Your local fellowship needs you more than ever as it prepares for revival as we see that Day approaching.