What Does The Bible Say About Going to Church? Commands, Benefits, and Spiritual Growth

Church attendance has declined in the United States in recent decades, with less than 50% of Americans reporting weekly attendance according to recent Gallup polls. However, church attendance remains an important spiritual practice for millions of Christians who seek to follow biblical principles.

What guidance does the Bible provide when it comes to gathering together for corporate worship? This article will examine key scriptures about church attendance and their implications for Christians today. Understanding the biblical foundations for church life can help believers make wise decisions about their involvement in a local congregation.

Old Testament Encouragement

Bible About Going to Church

The Old Testament contains many passages that encourage God’s people to gather together for worship and praise. The book of Psalms, in particular, has multiple references to praising God in the assembly and congregation:

“I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”” (Psalm 122:1)

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” (Psalm 95:6)

Proverbs also speaks of the value of gathering together:

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

These and other verses emphasize the importance of God’s people coming together to worship Him and build up one another spiritually. The writers frequently mention the house or temple of God as the place to gather and point to the benefits of collectively praising God.

Jesus’ Example

Jesus regularly participated in corporate worship and attended the synagogue. The Gospels record that “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues.” Yet the Christian reader rarely ponders the significance of such an activity. Jesus Himself established the pattern of corporate worship by regularly attending services at the synagogue.

According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus’ custom was to attend the synagogue on the Sabbath: “Then Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and according to His custom, He entered into the synagogue on the day of the Sabbaths, and stood up to read” (Luke 4:16). Jesus not only attended synagogue services, but He also participated in them by reading Scripture. His regular involvement shows that He considered corporate worship as an essential element of spiritual life.

The Gospels also record instances of Jesus going to the temple in Jerusalem to teach and encounter people (e.g. Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:11, Luke 2:46, John 2:14). He saw the temple as a “house of prayer” (Matthew 21:13). Overall, Jesus’ life provides an example of the importance of regularly participating in corporate worship. His actions reveal that God desires believers to assemble together for worship, prayer, teaching, and community.

Early Church Model

The early church, as described in the Book of Acts, gathered together regularly for worship, prayer, teaching, and fellowship. Acts 2:46 says “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” The believers saw the importance of coming together, even daily, to encourage one another in the faith. Acts 5:42 notes that “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.”

The apostles taught the early believers the importance of meeting together as the body of Christ. The early church was very structured and centered around the Lord’s Supper when they gathered. They saw communal worship as a critical part of their new life in Christ.

Commands to Assemble

Going to Church in Bible

The Bible contains several verses that instruct believers not to neglect meeting together with other believers. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” This verse makes it clear that believers should not neglect gathering together, but rather should make meeting together a priority, especially as Christ’s return draws near.

Another verse, 1 Corinthians 14:26, describes what takes place when believers assemble: “How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.” This shows that when the early church met together, it was for the purpose of edification through the use of spiritual gifts.

Isaiah 45:20 also contains an exhortation to God’s people to assemble together: “Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations…” This demonstrates that assembling together is important for those who follow the Lord. Overall, the Bible clearly commands believers not to forsake gathering together, but to make it a priority for the purpose of mutual edification.

Gifts and Service

Attending church provides opportunities for Christians to discover and use their spiritual gifts to serve others. The Bible encourages believers to serve one another with the unique gifts God has given them (1 Peter 4:10). These gifts, sometimes called charisma or pneumatikon in Greek, are empowerments by the Holy Spirit to build up the church (1 Corinthians 12:1-11). They include gifts like teaching, leadership, administration, evangelism, prophecy, service, and more (Romans 12:6-8).

Attending a local church provides opportunities to discover spiritual gifts through serving. As Christians use their gifts to meet needs in the body of Christ, they grow in understanding of their gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). Serving also allows them to develop and sharpen their gifts. Just as gifts unused can atrophy, gifts employed can flourish. By attending church, Christians can find meaningful ways to serve God and others according to how He has gifted them.

Fellowship and Community

Believers are encouraged in the Bible to gather together for fellowship and community. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “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, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near”. Gathering together allows Christians to love, serve, and encourage one another.

The early church devoted themselves to fellowship, meeting together in homes and public spaces (Acts 2:46). They shared meals, prayed, and learned together (Acts 2:42). Fellowship provides support and accountability as believers walk together in Christ. As Proverbs 27:17 states, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Gathering together sharpens believers as they share their lives and God’s Word.

The Bible makes it clear that Christians are not meant to walk alone. We need fellowship and community with other believers. Meeting together allows us to love one another, bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), confess sins and pray for one another (James 5:16), and use our gifts to serve others (1 Peter 4:10). Our walk with Christ is strengthened through the encouragement, teaching, and service we receive through Christian community.

Corporate Worship

Worshipping together with other believers is a meaningful and essential part of the Christian life. The Bible encourages believers to worship together and not neglect gathering with the church body (Hebrews 10:25).

There are several reasons corporate worship is meaningful and vital for Christians:

  • It allows us to worship God together and align our hearts with His. Singing songs of praise and hearing God’s Word preached helps focus our minds on God and His glory rather than worldly concerns.

  • It provides spiritual nourishment and care for our souls. Being in community and receiving the sacraments renews our spirits and helps us persevere in faith.

  • It enables us to use our spiritual gifts to serve others, fulfilling the biblical command to serve one another with our gifts (1 Peter 4:10).

  • It allows for fellowship, community and accountability within the body of Christ. We grow closer to other believers and support each other.

Corporate worship honours God and brings unique spiritual blessings and benefits that individual worship alone cannot provide. Gathering with fellow believers is a vital part of Christian growth and discipleship.

Church Discipline

Bible Say About Going to Church

Church discipline is the process of correcting sinful behavior of church members. It is a way to protect the integrity of the church and bring people back to a right relationship with God. The Bible gives instructions on implementing church discipline which requires being part of a local church body.

In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus outlines the steps of confronting a brother or sister in sin:

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

This shows discipline is to be carried out within the context of the local church.

In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul rebukes the church for failing to deal with sexual immorality in their midst. He says to “purge the evil person from among you” (v. 13). Excommunication requires a defined church membership.

The goal of discipline is restoration. 2 Corinthians 2:5-8 shows the importance of restoring the repentant person so “his punishment by the majority is enough.” This demonstrates the corporate nature of discipline.

Overall, church discipline is commanded by Christ to keep the church pure and promote repentance among believers. It requires meaningful involvement in a local body.


Attending church regularly is an important part of the Christian life. As the Bible encourages and the early church modeled, meeting together with other believers for worship, teaching, fellowship, and service pleases God and helps us grow in faith.

Though church attendance habits changed during the pandemic, gathering as the body of Christ remains a vital way to glorify God, be encouraged in faith, and participate in God’s mission. For these reasons, believers should prioritize assembling with the church. As the writer of Hebrews says, let us not give up meeting together, but encourage one another in love and good deeds (Heb 10:24-25).

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Daniel Powell

In my twenties, I began to approach the Bible with fresh eyes. I was no longer content to simply accept what I was told. I wanted to dive deeper, to question, and to understand. My faith demanded it.

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