Why Not Worship From Home All the Time?

By Pastor Nate Powell

Well, we did survive the first “all-Online” church service in our church’s history this past Sunday, and I’m sure there were a variety of fronts on which you enjoyed it if you participated in. You could still take the dog out during the service if needed. You could watch from your PJ’s and slippers on your couch. No arguments on the way to the car. No trying to keep the kids quiet. You could tune in and out on your own terms. You could take an actual nap during the sermon and/or the songs, and no dirty looks from anyone! These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to online church. So why not just do this every Sunday? I’m sure all the introverts would approve!

But actually, it is a serious question: if we can do church online, why do we need church in person?

I would like to start by pointing us to just a few scriptures, and asking: can we fulfill these scriptures if we are not together in person?

Hebrews 10:25: “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.” Can we fulfill this scripture if we are not actually meeting together, especially for the purpose of encouraging one another? Personally, I will always take a note over an email. A phone call over a text message. An actual hug over a hug emoji. As we get closer to the same space with each other, we can give truer expressions of our care and encouragement to each other. Online meetups will never take the place of that.

Acts 2:42: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Can we, like the early church live in the truth of this scripture without being together? I can share the apostles’ teaching with you, but true fellowship will be hard to find without being in the same room. How can we break bread and share in communion together when we are not taking from the bread and cup together? And although I prayed on Sunday during our online service, I had no way of knowing if you were praying with me or playing with your dog.

Galatians 6:2: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” This is so much of what happens in our small groups, when we can look each other in the eye, speak honestly, and hold one another accountable. This scripture is specifically speaking to guiding one another from sinning. This has to happen in personal meeting and contact.

Romans 12:13: “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” Hospitality doesn’t happen over the internet, it happens in person and in our homes. It will be hard to know the needs of the saints if we are not meeting with the saints.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. So much of what we are called to do as Christians must be in-person, personal, physical and tangible.

So here are a couple of encouragements. I know there are some these days who rely on online services and sermons as their sole source of church connection. If that is you, there are so many things you are missing out on, one of which is growing to love your neighbor and fellow disciple, which is what we are called to do in the scripture on multiple occasions (1 John 3:11, John 13:34, Ephesians 4:2-3).

My other encouragement is this: Let’s all use this time that we don’t meet in person to fuel a hunger for the day we do meet in person. Whether its two weeks or two months, won’t it be a great Sunday when we meet together again for Worship? I believe it will be a small taste of heaven that day. And I can’t wait to be in the same room with you all again. No technology or internet service will ever replace it.