Loving Your Church as You Celebrate Christ Together

By Tony Merida, foreword by David Platt
from 4 reviews

How to make the most of and give the most to your church’s Sunday gatherings.

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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.

Product details


  • Introduction: A Renewed Vision of Your Gathering
    1. The Gift of Gathering
    2. Stir Up One Another
    3. Hear God's Word
    4. Sing Together
    5. Pray Together
    6. Celebrate the Gospel Visually
    7. Reach Outsiders
    8. Scatter
    Conclusion: Gathering Together to Change the World

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Contributors Tony Merida, David Platt
ISBN 9781784988272
Format Paperback
First published December 2022
Dimensions 5.1" x 7.8" x 0.4"
Case quantity 50
Language English
Pages 144
Publisher The Good Book Company

Alistair Begg

Bible Teacher, Truth For Life; Senior Pastor, Parkside Church, Cleveland; Author, Pray Big and A Christian Manifesto

This is a timely and necessary call to all who profess to love Jesus. Tony writes in a way that not only tells me why I need to gather but makes me want to.

Danny Akin

President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Gathering regularly to worship the risen Lord Jesus is essential to the health of the Christian and the health of the church. Without it, we will wither and eventually die spiritually. This book highlights both why we gather and what we do when we gather. Read it with much encouragement and profit.

Nick Tucker

Author, 12 Things God Can't Do

This timely book crackles with energy from cover to cover. The theological vision of church life that it offers is grand and exhilarating, yet it is grounded and practical, down to the value of a good night’s sleep on Saturday night! I hope that everyone in the church I pastor will read it, and I am excited to put its lessons into practice in my own life. You could easily read this book in a single sitting—which is great, because it is worth reading over and over.

Customer reviews


“A Beautiful Explanation of the Local Church”

Gathering in-person every week to worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ is essential to our growth and sanctification as believers.

This book so beautifully lays out the benefits of belonging to a local church, the beauty of gathering to encourage and be encouraged, and the responsibility to reach outsiders.

If I highlighted and underlined in my books I would have covered every page!

This book is a must-read for every Christian, especially as deal with the effects that 2020 lockdowns had on several congregations. Some grew, others sadly dwindled.

If you need a reminder of why we gather, read this book.

If you are in the process of searching for a place to worship weekly, read this book.

I finished this book in tears being so grateful for my own church and the people in it. And in awe that this is God’s perfect plan for us as his children.

I’ve walked through trials, loss and overwhelming joyous times and I can trace back to my local church deeply supporting me through it all. That is the gift of gathering. It starts on Sunday, but doesn’t end there.


“An Encouragement for the Local Church”

This is a really encouraging read for those who want to celebrate church and the goodness of gathering as the people of God together. As a church, we studied the first book in this series ("Love Your Church") in our homegroups and found Merida's style and content really helpful. This is a good development of that book, thinking in a little more detail about the necessity of gathering and searching for the biblical basis for our gatherings. For example, he looks at the Old Testament gatherings around the temple and how the church is now a fulfilment of that pattern. It's a good read for your small groups or for the individual and will make you love your church more!


“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.

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Gather | Tony Merida, David Platt | $16.99 $14.44