Again, we’re talking about the both/and rather than the either/or conversation that I’m hearing from the missional/emerging world. One of the emphases that I hear is, go be the church rather than go to church. Again, it’s both, not one or the other. The Bible doesn’t make this false division in dichotomy, so why should we? We should want as many people as possible to go to church whether they’re Christian or not. But only those who are Christian can go be the church.
We’re fast coming to a place as George Barna predicted, that we’re having more believers who don’t attend church than who do. This isn’t right. Christians should be gathering together at least once a week to worship. This is God’s idea, not ours. This wasn’t fabricated by Willow Creek or Saddleback. This is a God idea. It goes on all over the world. It has been going on for thousands of years and it will continue to go on. We should celebrate it.
We should encourage people to attend church rather than simply just giving up and saying people have no interest. We ought to be more concerned about being more interesting rather than simply giving up and saying that gathering in coffeehouses or homes with three or four people is a substitute for gathering in large, worshiping communities where we praise, pray, and proclaim God’s word.
This isn’t optional; it’s essential. And every Christian, every person who has any God-hunger should be gathering every weekend, all around the world. We should encourage this; not simply give up on it because we lack the creativity to provide environments and experiences where people want to attend.
So should we go be the church? Absolutely. But we should also go to church. This is not an either/or, but a both/and. It honors God when we’re committed to both.