Why do we meet on Sundays?
Now that technology allows us to access services remotely, many see little need to meet face to face every week. Others think that because we have a personal relationship with Jesus as Christians, church is an optional add-on. For some, they know deep down that there is a reason why gathering on Sundays is important, but they are weary and don’t feel excited about it. So what is the purpose of corporate worship, and what is our role in it?
In this book, Tony Merida highlights how in-person Sunday gatherings are central to God’s plans and to our faith and joy. He reminds believers of their privileges as citizens of heaven, members of God’s family, and stones in God’s temple.
Readers will see how each part of a church service (preaching, praying, singing, baptism, Lord’s Supper, and building each other up in conversations) are ways to enjoy and share God’s grace, and are therefore essential for spiritual endurance. You’ll also be reminded that your presence in corporate worship matters because you have a part to play in encouraging your brothers and sisters and spurring them to love and good deeds:
“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.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Read this book to renew your understanding and enjoyment of going to church and to be excited by the ways in which your presence can encourage others.
There are discussion questions at the end of every chapter with action steps, making it ideal to read as a small group or even a whole church. Bulk deals and free downloadable worksheets are available, making it perfect for pastors wanting to remind church members of the importance of gathering as God’s people.
This is one of the first books in the new Love Your Church series, which is being written by a collection of Bible teachers from Acts29. It is designed to inspire every church member to love their church in practical ways by casting a biblical vision of what it means to be a local community of God’s family. The series will explore what it means to belong, to welcome, to gather, to care, to serve, and to honor one another, and to witness and send people out to spread the gospel.
“The Gift of Loving Your Church”
he first book in the series by Tony Merida is titled Gather: Loving Your Church as You Celebrate Christ Together (2023). Gathering is a crucial characteristic of any local church. This is the main purpose for the local church, for believers to gather together to worship Jesus. In the book, Pastor Merida discusses important aspects of gathering as a local congregation. These include: preaching God’s Word, singing , prayer, mutual edification, celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and baptism. Each local gathering will look different based on the context, but the afore mentioned aspects should be present.
One of the most important reasons that the local church gathers, and is oftentimes overlooked by many, is the work of evangelism. Pastor Merida discusses this in the last two chapters of the book. While it is certainly crucial for the church to gather for worship, it is important to remember that the church is a sent people. The church does not exist merely for those gathered, but to equip the saints to go and share the gospel. A church that does not keep the gospel at the forefront of their mission, has signed its own death certificate.
The Love Your Church series is an excellent set of resources for church leaders and lay people alike. Each volume exhorts local churches to be what the church is called to be by Jesus. The church is an institution established by the Lord to propagate the gospel to the ends of the earth. Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). This promise should give the church confidence in its mission, but also serve as a warning. It is only when we are standing on the biblical gospel, that we stand firm. For this reason, the church should be a place to gather for worship, find true belonging, and welcome others to come and find rest.
This is a new book in the Love Your Church series, each written by a different author, but focus on the primary aspects of how a Church body can love its own Church body well.
In Gather, Tony spends the entire book discusses the facets of in person church vs. virtual church, which stemmed greatly from covid shutdowns. It's become too easy and convenient for many believers to stay virtual in their church worship and activities, spending more time justifying their reasoning for virtual than actually loving their church in their virtual capacity.
The book is structured with eight chapters, each describing a specific purpose of gathering as a church. Some of these purposes include: Hear God's Word, Pray Together, Reach Outsiders, Scatter.
Each chapter is also formatted the same as it begins with a scripture reference, Merida's talking points, and concluding with action steps. My favorite part throughout the entire book is the actions steps within each chapter. These are simple and practical and because of such, they are also very convicting to step out in action for your home Church.
I appreciate Merida's prompting to reunite and reignite the church with in person gatherings. God created us for fellowship. Although technological advances have brought about many conveniences, it's also hindered the deepness and genuineness of our relationships.
I received a copy of this book from The Good Book Company in exchange for an honest review.