1. Because there's good preaching, music and fellowship.
So, it's Sunday morning. You've had your coffee; you're dressed up with your Bible in hand. You're ready to go. But what exactly is that you're looking forward to?
Lately, I've been rather convicted about my own attitude toward church. Though I don't normally think of it this way, my motives are really quite selfish. It certainly sounds spiritual to love good preaching, good music and good fellowship. After all, aren't we supposed to like those things?
But what's at the heart of this attitude? A consumer mindset. An idea that the local church is about what I can get out of it and how it helps me. It's about what I can get out of it rather than what I can put into it. But is this really the biblical function of the local church? To be a spiritual filling station where believers come to get fueled, washed and pampered? Hardly. The local church is where the mission of the universal Church and the mission of the individual believer come together and work themselves out practically. In short, it is at the epicenter of the Christian life and mission.
2. To be blessed.
Now, don't get me wrong. I believe that if our approach is proper we will be blessed and spiritually nourished. However, I don't think that should be our primary goal. Scripturally, we are continually commanded to look out for the spiritual wellbeing of our brothers and sisters.
When we go to church, our goal should be to see to it that others are spiritually blessed, become closer to God and are edified. I believe that if we make that our goal and priority then we too will be blessed, edified and brought closer to God. The main difference is emphasis. On the one hand it's about what I can get out of church. On the other hands, it's about glorifying God by serving other in the context of the local church.
3. To listen and leave.
But here's the most common one. We all have a tendency to come into church, listen to the sermon, shank a few hands and then peel out. The local church is seen as a Sunday (and maybe Wednesday) thing. But if you look at the Scripture you'll see that the Church, and therefore her local embodiments, are central to God's plan and mission. So shouldn't it be central to ours?
If the local church is primal to God's mission, should it also be a central theme of our prayers, efforts, ministry, time and energy?