Friday, February 6, 2009

Why do you go to church?

It's an interesting question. Most people would probably answer that they go to church to "worship God." But is that really the purpose? I saw a live event online yesterday with Dallas Willard and John Ortberg discussing spiritual formation and discipleship to Jesus. In case you don't know, Dallas Willard is a brilliant writer, thinker, philosopher out of USC. His book The Divine Conspiracy is one of my favorites, and probably the most life changing book I've read outside of the Bible. Anyway, one of the things they talked about was the role of church in one's spiritual formation and I found one comment by Dallas Willard to be particularly thought provoking. Here's the way the conversation went:

Ortberg: Why go to church?

Willard: To love and to be loved.

Ortberg: I thought you would have said "to worship God"

Willard: that may happen, but that's not why I go. I go to love and to be loved and I assume that the presence of Jesus is there in those people.

What do you think of this statement? Why do we go to church? Most people would agree that I can worship God on my own at anytime and any place. So why do I need to go to church to worship Him? And, if Willard is right about the reason we go to church, then why are church services almost entirely forward facing, and non-relational? As I'm laying the ground work for a new church here in Durham, this is a question that I really wrestle with. I have more thoughts about it, and my own personal feelings, but I'd love to hear from you. So feedback would be great! What do you think?


This is very thought provoking. As you know I was in a church that I felt lacked that relational side.

Willard is correct in my opinion in that we should be worshipping God at all times.

When we met together as a congregation it should be used to encourage and build each other up - or as he puts it - To love and to be loved.

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