We live in a world that is increasingly less “in person.” In fact, major studies show that more people would rather converse via text message than a phone call or face to face meeting. That cultural shift towards an impersonal relationship makes it easy for us to sit on the couch, throw on the live stream, and say that we have gone to church. Although this seems like a great and easy way to attend church, it is a cheap substitute for the life-altering gathering of believers.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up 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.”
The point of the gathering is not to sing the songs and hear the message. Those are surely aspects of our gatherings, but they in and of themselves are not the purpose. As stated in Hebrews, the purpose of gathering together is to stir each other up to love and good works. Singing together provides an opportunity for this encouragement. The Gospel-centered preaching of the Word of God provides an opportunity for this encouragement. However, alone, they are not enough. Much like the early church, we need the community provided by togetherness to encourage us to continue fighting the good fight. Without each other, we are unable to make it out of our Sunday pump up into the trenches of Wednesday.
Being able to stream a gathering is a huge help to many people. There are some who are unable to attend a gathering. It may be due to a work schedule, vacation, or an illness. For people in these positions, streaming a gathering is a wonderful alternative to not experiencing a gathering at all. However, for those of us who are able to attend a gathering, we should take every opportunity to participate in the fellowship of believers to encourage and be encouraged that we may go out into the world to live in the purpose God has called us to.