Research suggests that worship attendance is down across virtually every denomination in America. You can read a brief report from Pew Research here. Church leaders across the country are scrambling to figure out why people aren’t attending. While there are surely things to be learned from that kind of research, I’d rather focus on why people DO worship. Here are four reasons I worship, even when I’m not “working”:
- Community. When we’re baptized, we’re baptized into the Family of God. Corporate worship is a weekly family reunion and I don’t want to walk the journey of life and faith without my family. It’s in the context of the worshiping community that both our joys and challenges can be shared. I love that in our community of faith there is always someone ready to pray with and for people.
- Celebration. Corporate worship is a response to God’s presence and goodness in our lives throughout the week. No matter how difficult the week has been worship reminds me that the Light has come and the darkness cannot overcome it. That’s worth celebrating. As I engage in conversation with my brothers and sisters in worship I get to hear what God is up to in their lives, which is yet another reason to give thanks and praise.
- Connection. Corporate worship reminds me that I’m part of a global family that joins hearts and voices weekly to praise the One who is at work in all places among all people. It reminds me that God’s movement is so much bigger than what I see or experience.
- Centering. Corporate worship reminds me that life is about God, not about me. Daily life has a way of pulling my perspective out of alignment. Worship has a way of centering me again. So corporate worship becomes a bridge, a celebration of what has been and a preparation for what is to come. It’s also in the context of corporate worship that I hear once again the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness for me, and for us.
Sure, I can worship on my own. At its best life is worship. But the words of Hebrews 10:24-25 resonate with me:
“And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Why does corporate worship matter to you? Why do you worship? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and experiences.