For many people, Christians and non-Christians alike, one of the biggest questions they come to grapple with is, “Why do I need to attend church?” To those who don’t believe, the answer is simple: why would I attend a meeting of something I don’t believe in? For Christians, however, the matter is a bit more complicated. Many believers in the faith conclude, “Just because I don’t go to a service or a mass doesn’t mean that I don’t have a relationship with God.” On one level, they are correct, as God does not judge you for how many times you’ve said a particular prayer or gone to mass. However, this sort of reasoning can overlook why attendance is necessary. Catholic Mass, and even the typical Protestant church gathering, can be one of the most strengthening exercises of faith in three ways.
Man with God
Attending Mass is a spiritual strengthener, as it provides a connection to Christ. Matthew 18:20 (NIV) states that “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” When many gather in His name, He is there with them, and what is more fulfilling of this promise than Mass? The teachings, the communion, all of this are done with the purpose of worshipping Christ in one place. This strength is even highlighted in Colossians 3:16 (NIV): “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” A direct connection with Christ is essential for spiritual growth and strength, and attendance helps this cause.
Man with Mankind
This power also comes from being with others in general. From the beginning, humanity has been a social creature. Adam was even alone in the garden with God, and so he was given companions. Our companionship can be fulfilled at Mass, and our strength in God is even stronger when we have one and other to build each other up. The scriptures highlight the importance of spiritual companionship in Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV) which reveals, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Christ even understood this fact, as he “sent [his disciples] two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.” There is a strength, even spiritually, in numbers. Therefore, it is wise that if one truly wants to have a strong faith in Christ, they must be willing to surround themselves with others of the same cause.
Man with Family
The final kind of strength we have is the strength of the family. One’s marriage is stronger when God is in the midst, and one must also consider the children of the family, the future of the church, who need to be strengthened for both their earthly and heavenly family. King Solomon even declared the Godly wisdom of Proverbs 22:6 (NIV), that parents should “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” The strength of the future kingdom relies upon the faith of the next generation, and how can they truly understand what it means to follow God if they have no instruction? How can they stay strong if others of like-minded faith do not surround them?
Gathering together to bring praise to God and learn how to walk with Him day by day is such an important part of the faith. On a personal note, I’ve seen what happens to Christians when they lack this step in faith, what happens when they put themselves in spiritual isolation. When my family stopped attending church for “reasons I wouldn’t understand” and didn’t attempt to find someplace else to serve God, my faith slowly corroded over time, as did the faith of my family. Though the words I spoke were, “I’m a Christian,” the actions I did proclaim, “I am a man of this world.” I am blessed that Christ has saved me once again, and I continue to pray that He will heal my family’s hearts as well. Therefore, I stand by the facts that fellowship and instruction with other followers of Christ, whether God has called you to a Catholic mass or even to a Protestant worship service or even a small Bible study, is crucial to maintaining the faith. This is why we need to go to mass.