If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about the current way of the world, it’s that many people feel you can worship God wherever you are — that there’s no true need to attend a Sunday service within the four walls of a building. If you can pray or study His word anywhere, what’s the use in traveling (often great distances) elsewhere?
To a degree, this isn’t a false belief: we are taught we can praise His name no matter where we are, be it our home, our car, our backyard. But, we’re also taught that there’s something special about gathering in His earthly house of worship (our local church building/rental space) that has a great impact on our walk with Him.
Moroni tells us the church in that day and time “did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls. And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus.” (Moroni 6:5-6)
Did you catch that? Concerning the welfare of their souls. The people made gathering together a priority so much so that it impacted their souls!
Alma even questioned the people he was preaching to:
“Behold I say unto you, do ye suppose that ye cannot worship God save it be in your synagogues only? And moreover, I would ask, do ye suppose that ye must not worship God only once in a week?” (Alma 32:10-11)
He reminded them that, yes, you can serve the Lord elsewhere and it isn’t limited to one day only — but, if we read between the lines, we know that what Alma was really saying was that it’s important for your spiritual well-being to gather together with other believers. It brings us strength to hear testimonies, discuss scripture, witness miracles.
These spiritual leaders knew that we’d need each other. The majority of our spiritual lives we’re serving the Lord alone — we go about our daily lives and serve Him on an individual level. Most of us only spend a few hours a week inside a church building with other saints. It’s all the more reason that we put emphasis on those times: we get the weekly (or bi-weekly) boost we need, and we can share in the blessings of the Lord each time.
When you’re apart from your local branch or mission, you often realize how special being a part of the body of Christ is. I remember feeling this way when I was away at college, missing my tiny Cincinnati-Morrow Mission. I could study each Sunday morning on my own, but I missed learning from my brothers and sisters. I could find a piano on campus to play, but I missed playing for our Mission and hearing everyone’s beautiful voices. I missed “church” and all that it encompassed.
Do we have to attend a church service to receive a blessing? Technically, no. But, blessings are guaranteed if you do. So why not make the effort? God is certain to smile — and so will you.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.