These days there’s some debate and even division over when, where, and how churches are/aren’t assembling. My heart isn’t to take a side against another believer. Every Christian and church must follow God’s leading on those questions. I am concerned that in all the back-and-forth, we seem to have forgotten that assembling is an essential element of the expression of our faith.
Why do we assemble? Our reasons are . . .
Biblical – The gathering of the church is described and prescribed throughout the New Testament. It’s the understood norm of the Body to assemble. We are commanded to not forsake the assembling together.
Logical – Since the word “church” means an assembly, it’s only reasonable that we would assemble.
Historical – From the earliest church gathering in the Jerusalem Temple up to today, the consistent pattern of Christianity has been to assemble in some form. We’ve used rented spaces, ancient burial caves, fields, schools, theaters, store-fronts, large auditoriums, small country chapels . . . and everything in between.
Emotional – The need for community is hard-wired into our beings. Though solitude is necessary at times, we were not created for perpetual “aloneness.”
Practical – There are too many commands for Christians in Scripture that cannot be obeyed in seclusion from other believers. (Check out all the “one another” commands in the New Testament!) It’s when we’re together that we “provoke one another to love and good works.”
Missional – The church is a God-designed expression of grace. When we gather that we clearly manifest the transformative and redemptive power of the Gospel. Gathering cannot be our only means of proclaiming the Gospel, but our proclamation should never be without the assembling.
I’m aware that the church is not the gathering place. The church is more than the gathering, it’s also the scattering. But the church IS the assembly of the saints. The church is an assembly. We assemble. It’s what we do.