It’s comfortable and convenient.
Watching church from home means you got some extra sleep. You didn’t have to worry about any awkward conversations, getting dressed up or possibly walking in late.
This habit triggered by the pandemic has become your routine. And there’s nothing wrong with it, right? Church is church.
But if you’re physically able to go in person, streaming a service or listening to a podcast sermon is not all church was meant to be.
Hear Pastor Chip Ingram talk about a post-pandemic faith on The Light FM’s What Hope Sounds Like podcast.
“The word ‘church’ comes from a Greek word, ecclesia, which means, ‘to call out,'” Billy Graham once explained. “The church is composed of all those true believers from Pentecost onward who are united together in Christ. The Bible teaches that we are the Body of Christ, of which He is the Head (Ephesians 1:22-23).”
According to Barna Group, one out of every three practicing Christians dropped out of church completely during COVID’s height in April/May 2020. Church membership in the United States fell below 50% for the first time in eight decades of Gallup records. And in recent Barna reports, 84% of pastors believe this trend of decreased attendance will continue, even post-pandemic.
If you’re on fence about returning to church, here are five reasons to consider showing up this Sunday:
1. Church is communal.
Church was designed to be a generous community where friends challenge each other to deepen their relationships with God.
If you feel out of place at your local church, make an effort to say hello to someone near you—or walk up to a welcome desk. These simple steps can lead to meaningful and fun connections with others, from small groups to game nights.
“The church isn’t just a particular building or congregation but the spiritual fellowship of all who belong to Jesus Christ,” Billy Graham said. “If we belong to Christ, we also belong to each other.”
“And let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” —Hebrews 10:24-25
2. Church can bring joy.
While isolation leads to loneliness, going to church can improve your mental health. According to a Barna study, many people felt less anxious and more secure during the pandemic if they were still attending church.
While you may need emotional and mental support beyond church doors, it’s a great place to find Bible-based resources and people to help you process life’s highs and lows.
“When Christ is at the center of a church’s life, it will be marked by harmony and love,” Billy Graham said. “You’ll also discover an even greater joy—the joy of being part of God’s family forever.”
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” —Colossians 3:15
3. Church holds the key to revival.
“I’m convinced that the single greatest need in most churches today is spiritual revival—for a renewed commitment to Jesus Christ and a greater desire to do His will, regardless of the cost,” Billy Graham once said. “When we are concerned only for ourselves, our lives and our churches will grow cold and stagnate—but when we become burdened over a world that has lost its way, then God can begin to use us.”
The early church listened to Biblical teaching, shared fellowship, ate together and gathered in prayer. “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” —2 Chronicles 7:14
4. Church brings generational change.
When looking for a church, Billy Graham said it’s important to ask, “Will my family and I grow spiritually in this church? Will we learn from the Bible about God and His will for our lives? Will we draw closer to God, and will we discover what it means to be united with other believers?”
In a recent interview with Barna, Pastor Levi Lusko of Fresh Life Church said, “Billy Graham is the one who ran out the statistic [highlighting that] most decisions [to follow] Christ come before age 18.”
Taking your kids or friends to a church camp or youth group may have more of an impact than you know.
Barna stated that 61% of people who attend church as a child still actively go to church, while most who did not grow up in church still do not attend (78%).
So don’t just go to church for yourself, do it for your kids and for those you love.
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.” —Colossians 3:16
5. The church needs you.
A huge part of church is “being” the church. But what does that look like?
“Only a healthy church can help a sick world,” Billy Graham once said. “Much social action today is nothing but sheer humanism. I am convinced that we cannot save the world until we ourselves are first saved. We cannot change the world until we as members of the church have been transformed by the power of Christ. We cannot redeem society until we ourselves have first been redeemed by Christ.”
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace…” —1 Peter 4:10
>> Why should I go to church? Check out this Q&A for more wisdom from Billy Graham.