Why Keep Coming to Church?

Why keep coming to church?  Seem like an odd question?  What is so significant week in and week out about setting aside our time, which some say is very precious, to fellowship with the body, the church?

It seems that to answer this question we have to ask what the primary task of the church is.  Some would say that the primary task of the church is to get the teachings of scripture mastered.  Others might say that the primary task is for the church to correctly decipher the proper form of worship and then to worship in this manner.  Still others could possibly say that the primary task of the church is to make disciples.  Some might combine various answers together whereas others would live and die by one single task.

Augustine of Hippo, Bishop of Hippo in Northern Africa in the fifth century, wrote many books, one of which is called The City of God.  Augustine took very serious his calling to ministry and therefore sought to help the congregation(s) he served live out scripture so that they would be a faithful witness to the gospel.  As Augustine helped form and develop people into the image of Christ he developed a viewpoint for the necessity of church.  Michael Pasquarello III makes known this viewpoint.

In Augustine’s vision, “going to church” is a journey to the place where Christian people behold their destiny, where they see what is to become of them, where they are formed into a people of hope.  The church’s primary task is to become what it is: the embodiment of God’s salvation revealed in Christ and declared through Holy Scripture.[1]

According to Augustine the church’s primary task is to become the embodiment of God’s salvation.  The implications of this are monumental.  To become the embodiment of God’s salvation could very well mean that what we will experience in heaven should be experienced in the church.  Thus, equality, acceptance, forgiveness, love must all be practiced within the church.  When the church ostracizes people because of their color of skin, ethnicity or gender we are failing to embody God’s salvation.  When the church holds grudges and refuses to give forgiveness we fail to embody God’s salvation.  When the church does not love all people, the drunk, the AIDS victim, the gays, the old, the young, the immigrant, the homeless, the business leader, the single mom, or even the strange looking teenager we are failing to embody God’s salvation.

When people see the church they should, they better, see the salvation of God.  May our churches embody the salvation of God!  May our churches become signs of God’s salvation!  May our churches bear witness to the salvation found in Jesus Christ!

And this is why we come to church.  We come to church so that we can be reminded of who we are.  We come to church so that we can continue to be formed into a people that embody Christ.  We come to church so that we might again see how we are to live according to the world of scripture.


[1] Michael Pasquarello III, Sacred Rhetoric (Eerdmans, 2005), 35.

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Published in: on March 30, 2007 at 2:03 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “When the church ostracizes people because of their color of skin, ethnicity or GENDER…” [my emphasis]. Do you feel we ostracize people because of their gender in our fellowship? Perhaps ostracize isn’t the correct word, but do you know what I am getting at? Any thoughts?

  2. To be honest, yes I do feel that we ostracize people, and yes, this includes gender, specifically women. I use the word ostracize to mean we prevent, exclude or prohibit. Dare I write a little more about this?

  3. You dare! Please dare!


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