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What does it take to keep you from corporate worship?

In Wiser Than Despair, Quentin Faulkner argues that religion manifests itself in myth (divine revelation and doctrinal content), ethos (behavior or morals), and cult. After acknowledging that the term “cult” has “fallen into ill repute” today and insisting that it is nevertheless “crucial to the understanding of religion (and music in the service of religion), and we need to to reclaim its original meaning,” he quotes a helpful definition of the term by Sigmund Mowinckel:

Cult . . . may be defined as the socially established and regulated holy acts and words to which the encounter and communion of the Deity with the congregation is established, developed, and brought to its ultimate goal . . . a relation in which a religion becomes a vitalizing function as a communion of God and congregation, and of the members of the congregation among themselves . . . the visible and audible expression of the relation between the congregation and the deity.

In other words, as Faulkner notes, it is close to our term “corporate worship” today, but only a particular view of corporate worship. Faulkner explains:

“Worship” is conceived today as being a good and fitting thing for God-fearing people to do, but it is by no means normally understood as being the life-and-death matter implicit in the concept of cult. The meaning of the word “cult” is immediately compromised the moment any suggestion of convenience or indifference is connected with it.

Faulkner then presents what I have found to be one of the most potent examples of what he means:

In present U.S. society, church members who are moderately ill (e.g., a bad cold or a case of the flu) would normally be inclined not to attend a service of worship, not only because they do not feel well, but because they would want to inhibit the spread of disease (a gesture of thoughtfulness). When fully world-conscious people are ill, on the other hand, attendance at cultic observances is a vital necessity; if their own strength fails them, then they are carried to the cultic assembly by their relatives, or the assembly comes to them. Cult is the means by which life is secured and the forces that threaten life (demons, disease, curses) are vanquished or held at bay. To be cut off from the cult is to die–both spiritually and ultimately physically as well. Therefore participation in the cult is hardly a take-it-or-leave-it affair; it is an essential prerequisite for living, indeed for survival. No matter what other aspects of religious observance might have to be curtailed (e.g., alms-giving or religious instruction), it is imperative that cultic celebrations be conducted in all fullness, since the strengthening of the cult is the central concern in people’s lives. The idea of cult inevitably involves notions of covenant, solidarity, ritual, sacrament, and ornament . . .

How does this view of corporate worship differ from how most people think today?

Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is on faculty at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He has written two books, dozens of articles, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and two children.

50 Responses to What does it take to keep you from corporate worship?

  1. Jared Longoria says:

    Most American Christians who attend church at least once a month think (and this is purely speculative; there no data backing up this claim besides general observation) of corporate worship as something that edifies them when they attend and, when they don’t attend, others can be just as edified without them there. Most people probably don’t see themselves as vital to the going-concern of their Christian community. The “leaders” run the show and the laypeople who show up are edified by their efforts. So, in a sense, the tithe is the most important thing because it propagates the system of paid, professional ministers. That’s as close to cult as most people get around here: “I’m sick and cannot go to church … but, I’ll keep paying my tithe and, in keeping with my investment, a minister of some sort will visit and pray for me.”

  2. Eunji Oh says:

    I strongly aree with Jared. Another factor of keeping Christians from corporate worship is the influence of individualism from Enlightenment. Terms such as personal worship, personal prayer, personal experience of God, personal communion with God should not be misunderstood. For instance, one may rationalize or defend himself that he would be fine by worshipping and praying personally (because he is sick) or even by listening to online sermons and watching Christian program at home since God is omnipresent, rather than attending corporate worship weekly. This might seem reasonable for some, however, this statement is very man-centered with no reverence to God at all.

  3. Daniel La Nu says:

    According to Faulkner, to participate in a cult is something that has to be taken seriously, something which is more like life and death matter. This is quite contrary to how people view of worship today . The fact that the way most people worship in a casual way attest to this reality. In addition, the absence of your church attendance doesn’t bother other people in the church unless you keep paying your tithe. What Jared points out about tithe in his comment reminds me of church as something which is becoming more like business cooperation. People lay out marketing strategies in order to boost church attendance, and staff the church with professional ministers to make sure that they render the best service to the congregation. Basically, the goal of the church can be misleading simply to please the congregation.

  4. Wendy Ku says:

    With the advancement of technology and the emphasis on individualism, people nowadays have other alternatives to participate in “cult” if they are sick, for example, watching a live Sunday Worship on TV or online, or listening to a broadcast of worship services, However, one of the important aspects of corporate worship is the togetherness, or the communal feature, and this cannot be fulfilled by worshiping at home through a “simulcast.”

    Faulkner points out the strengthening of the cult as the central concern in the lives of the fully world-conscious people. With the progress in medical system and treatment, many people today seems overlook, or underestimate, the strengthening effect of corporate worship; rather, they value much more of medicine and doctor’s advice. No doubt we need to go to the doctor and rest when we are ill, and in fact, the advanced medical treatment is a huge blessing to us in this modern world. However, spiritual strengthening is crucial to our physical health. “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). God’s presence in corporate worship gives us joy, and this joy strengthens and nourishes our body and soul.

  5. Brandon H. says:

    Faulkner’s view of corporate worship implies a mindset from the individual that one MUST participate in corporate worship. It is not an option, and not necessarily an obligation in and of itself. One participates in corporate worship because of the importance it has in their lives. Like Faulkner said, “to be cut off from the cult is to die”. This is vastly different from so many church goers today who go to church only if they “feel like it”, or if it will “do any good for them”. Not only this, corporate worship is oftentimes not made a priority in people’s lives. The Bible is very clear that corporate worship is a vital part to the Christian faith. I would think that most Christians believe going to church is a “good thing”, but that is where it stops for many.

  6. ai-chin says:

    With the advanced of technology, believers can easily skip any corporate worship by saying “I can watch is at home”. However, we have missed the point, which cult does not. They understand the important of corporate worship. Hebrews 10:19-25 instructs us not to neglect corporate worship. In corporate worship, we stir up each others to love and to do good works and to encourage each other. There is nothing wrong to watch a sermon at home. But going to a corporate worship, you have the chance to meet people. Skipping a corporate worship is like missing many opportunities. You might miss the opportunity to encourage or be encouraged, to pray for to be prayed by.
    Therefore, do not neglect corporate worship.

  7. Ben Little says:

    Everyone has made great points so far! Jared and Brandon, I am 100% behind you in echoing your thoughts. I’d like to delve deeper into the individualism of the self-conscious world-view (and thus the attitude of today’s congregations, for the most part).

    Worship is a great time that edifies the individual when they choose to participate. However, with most churches offering multiple services, the convenience factor comes into play. “I’ll just go to the early service today and that will give me more time to get my errands run.” OR “I could really use some time to sleep in, so I’ll go to the late service.” Worship is scheduled “in” instead of being scheduled “around.” Life is focused on individual lives instead of the life of Christ’s Body. This mentality is promoted even more in the day of podcasts, simulcasts, and television stations that broadcast only church services.

    When the focus is on individual edification, it becomes easy to see the arguments for personal time with God regardless of location. “I’ll get my time with God and worship Him while surrounded by His glorious creation. After all, this hike will bring me closer to Him and help me appreciate His creative power more.” At the heart of the issue, whether people like to admit it or not, is the sentiment, “Worship is about me as an individual. No one else needs my presence to be edified or find communion with God, so congregational worship is unimportant.” No one will EVER say this, but actions communicate clearly.

  8. Keji L. says:

    The point for corporate worship is to have communion with God and brothers and sisters. God established corporate worship for us, for our own good. Of course, with the technology today, people can watch worship service at home and can call other believers and communicate with them by phone. However, this is a very man-centered action if a christian continue doing this. Watching a service does not means you actually participate in the corporate worship, it is an action that you put yourself beyond God. If one put himself beyond God, he is not worshipping God, he is worshipping himself.

  9. Jessica Wan says:

    When I read the beginning of Jared’s response: “Most American Christians who attend church at least once a month think […] of corporate worship as something that edifies them when they attend and, when they don’t attend, others can be just as edified without them there.” I think it would be a fair argument to also say that there are some Christians who go to church because the act itself will save them. However, Christianity differs from a cult because our actions cannot justify us anymore for our salvation; rather, what Jesus did on the cross was enough to satisfy the wrath of God forever. As well, I think we also need to evaluate is the purpose of corporate worship and that is to come together to worship God. When the purpose of corporate worship becomes a social event to hang out, the initial intention gets lost.

  10. Bora Kim says:

    I totally agree with Wendy and Ai-chin’s opinion. Modern people live in an individualistic society; therefore, many Christians have individualistic faiths. That is why some of them do not want to attend corporate worship. However, the Bible shows the importance of gathering. “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20) The gathering of His people is ordered by His word. Also, the Bible says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”(Hebrews 10:25)
    As we can see from the Bible verses, attendance at corporate gatherings is a biblical mandate. The Christian life was never meant to be solitary. Christians are one body in Christ! God wants us to assemble together to worship and adore Him. That means, corporate worship is the very essential worship.

  11. John says:

    I would say that the view of “corporate worship” today is an event, and not a way of life. The way that Faulkner describes “cult” is an extreme commitment. This type of commitment towards each other and the body of believers is similar to two passages in Acts that described the dependence and extreme community of the early church (Acts 2:44, 4:32). What is missing from today’s definition of corporate worship is the transcendence of action outside of the Sunday service.

  12. Bradley Anderson says:

    While I believe that a majority (if not all) Christians believe in some way that corporate worship is important, however all don’t see it as necessary. The littlest things keep people from going to worship: illness, lack of sleep, haven’t had a day off in months, etc… Corporate worship simply becomes that is put on a list of things to do and if its accomplished…great. If not, there’s always next week. We also live in a society that is heavily individualistic and self-pleasing. We live in a world with multiple options and if something isn’t the way we want it, we disregard it and look for something that pleases us. I think many view corporate worship this way…while they may see it as important, it becomes an instance of “what can I get out of worship” and if they feel they haven’t gotten what they wanted out of it, it becomes unnecessary and unimportant to them.

    Its interesting when you look at other religions and “cults” (modern usage of the word), how nothing can seem to keep them from their version of “corporate worship” and yet American Christians seem to come up with excuse after excuse of not participating week after week.

  13. John Gray says:

    Today (especially in the church of America) people view the congregational worship as an option. This is not Biblical because it forsakes the assembly. Today’s church also believes that it is just a musical aspect of the service. I would argue that every part of the service should be worship. With a self conscious view the American Church has built worship off of what pleases themselves instead of the deity that commanded it (The triune God). With the world conscious view (like what was before the enlightenment) one did not worry about what their rights in the service (a democratic view), but they wanted a Biblical view that was communal and led by the Holy Spirit (When speaking of the Christian cult). Today the church wants what we want (our preference) with little desire to put others interest before our own. This shows desires of the flesh (have been their since the fall). The church of today would do well to reexamine the church of Acts and see how they lived life as a body for the glory of God.

  14. Emily Ham says:

    For world-conscious people, being in corporate worship is what they do and there is no individuality emphasized. However, most of people today don’t care about the tradition and their view is very self-centered. Worship became very conditional. People today are easy to break tradition and doesn’t care about history in order to protect their thoughts, culture, etc. for their own sake. After the Enlightenment, people seek for reason and they care about the individuality. Also the relativism is widely spread that everything can be wrong or everything can be right by one’s personal view. Many times today’s people quote, “being different is not wrong or bad.” They put special meaning to be different and they like to be categorized in an elevated social group such as VIP. Common benefit is not their business but each person’s way of life should be recognized for them.

  15. Kyu Lee says:

    The modern American churches, include myself, need think about how we
    worship our Lord. We say, “I love you Lord,” but our life does not speak.
    Let say, we love Jesus and sometimes we put our service short or skip corporate worship because of the football game or any other events would priortize our relationship with God.

    God showed through the Israel in the OT; “Here the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom;…Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is destestable to me…”(Isaiah 1:13). I do not see much difference when we see our modern Church. The matter is not about me tithe to the Church or attending church(check-in) concept. It is more than me offering or me tithing.

    It’s about covenant with the Lord and the relationship with my brothers and sisters. God should always be the center of our life and every part of the worship. God required Israel to worship him the way God wanted to receive. However, modern churches focus on the buildings and programs than the loving God and love our brothers and sisters.

  16. Vaden says:

    I would disagree with Faulkner on his view of worship. He views worship like it is mandatory to the common member of a church. Which is not the case. Worship has taken a back seat in most churches in America and has become optional for th Christian family. Yes most people go to worship on a Sunday but it is not because the worship mandates them to be there or they are cut off from the congregation.

  17. Vaden says:

    I would agree with Jared on the fact that most members have this cultish activity on giving a tithe but not worship. I think the fact that we are seeing the church growth movement by Rick warren affect how churches are running. And how ministers are influencing the way the members hold what is important to themselves.

    John Gray I would disagree that most Christians view worship as just music. The common Christian knows that goingt I a Sunday morning service is going to have worship with music but they aren’t going for the music they are there for the worshiping of the Word.

  18. Youjin Lee says:

    I disagree with Vaden’s argument. Worship has to be mandatory for every believers. As a true believer, once we accept Jesus Christ as my own Savior, our life must be worship itself. Worship is not the moment people goto church and sing a song. Worship is to glorify God in every moment of one’s life.
    The ultimate reason that keeps people from corporate worship is self-worship. Self-worship includes individualism, egoism, or mammonism that can keep people from corporate worship. Worship is not about performing, but about admitting that God as the only Lord of one’s life.

  19. Yangji says:

    These days many Christians think that individual faith is important. They emphasize this view ignoring the importance of corporate worship. However, the Bible commend to try to gather together.

  20. Jin Young Park says:

    I think corporate worship can be described as participation in worship.Like many of you say, today corporate worship considers convenience for Christians. Worship needs to be “a vital necessity” to God. Today churches considers too much convenience for congregation. For example, on December 8, 2013, most churches in Dallas and Fort Worth area were closed due to severe weather. They did not open worship serve because of a snow storm. In my experience, it was not able to happen. I was one of people who looked for worship service. I think churches was supposed to do worship service no matter who came to church through severe weather. I do not mean that Christians must attend worship service no matter what happen in their lives. I mean that churches must remember who is centered in worship. God must be centered in worship not convenience for Christians.

  21. Vaden says:

    Youjin Lee I think I didn’t word my comment correctly. I am not sayin that worship shouldn’t be mandatory in ones life. We see in the text o f the bible God wants us to worship Him. I am was meaning to say that worship has taken a back seat on the priority list of most Christians.

  22. Kaitlyn Z says:

    Throughout this discussion the common threads of our culture’s emphasis on individualism and self-gratification keep arising. It seems like many of the same thoughts are being voiced accurately again and again. I’m unsure of what to add to the discussion merely because it seems like for the most part we are all in agreement with the inconsistency we see before us. We live in a self-conscious society and yet profess to be believers in a diety who commands a world-conscious fiath. It does not suprise me at all that we therefore have many believers who are confused about corporate worship. I think many of the things brought up throughout this discussion all serve to exemplify the significace of worldview and its application. We practice a world-conscious faith but most of those participating have a self-conscious worldview. In this regard, Paul’s exhortation for the renewal of our minds in Romans 12 stands out to me as something I want to take very seriously. If we hope to see believers practicing their faith in a way that is consistent with what is commanded, there is first going to have to be a re-alignment of our worldviews with what God commands.

  23. Boyoung Lee says:

    Actually I was shocked about the view of the corporate worship in America. Because I saw to regard easily absence church or skipping Sunday worship at the church. I think that causes from the developing individual thinking. Some people might insist that the most important thing is having faith that act. But I think it is important the action to show our faith. So God mentioned about the corporate worship. God commands to gather and worship together in our life.

  24. Jessie W says:

    During this day and age, church has become less of a priority. I believe this is partly because Christianity has become more of a cultural tradition rather than genuine Christianity. People tend to think less about what it truly means to “deny thyself” and become a different creature. Due to this change in philosophy, many people only go to church when it is convenient for them. However, I do believe it is wise many times that if you are not well to stay at home and recover. If one has an illness that is very contagious coming to church would expose others to the same illness and hinder their worship experience as well. When this becomes a problem is when people take advantage of this excuse to miss when they were actually capable of going to worship.

  25. Jessica Wan says:

    During my undergraduate studies, I attended Asian Christian Fellowship and I remember each year, the leadership of the fellowship would encourage all the students to find a home church and not replace it with the fellowship. So, I wonder what your views are on people who attend fellowships/small groups (that are geared towards a particular group like high school students, Asians, or couples) and substitute that as their Sunday corporate worship.

    From everyone’s responses, I think it will be safe to assume that we all agree corporate worship is vital. Hence, I believe an argument can be made to replace Sunday corporate worship with fellowships/small groups since the two shares the commonality in the gathering of people through programs that often includes worship, scripture reading, scripture explanation, and prayer.

    Could corporate worship also include fellowship/small groups or should corporate worship only imply Sunday worship? Is there enough different between fellowship/small groups and Sunday worship that makes one better than the other?

  26. Grace Chang says:

    I think Faulkner is right that the corporate worship nowadays is very different from the cult that he describes. Corporate worship is definitely not about life and death issue.
    I think it is fairly good if a church can have participants who can join the corporate worship regularly. The congregation regard the pastor as someone who speaks the words of God, and they have a kind of bond or connection between themselves.

    I witnessed a split of a big church because of the style of music. And most importantly, the chief pastor “runs” the church as a CEO in a business. The other ministers are employees of the “company”. They are asked to smile always, dress in black suits with an insignia of the logo of the church, like uniform. Ministers feel like they are serving the congregation like customers. And the congregation feel like they are asked for donation for the new building of the church every week because the sermons, announcements are all about dedication to the new temple. The chief pastor wants to change the music style because he thinks contemporary music would attract more people to come. And the growing of congregation will help to raise more money for the new church building.

    It is very sad if people don’t view the corporate worship as a “communion of God and congregation”. They participate whenever they are available. Or this is merely what they should do according to the teaching of Scriptures, like obligation. Or in a even more worse case like I mentioned above, the worship is a show to attract more people. The ultimate goal is growth of members and more income. Then the church is not a church anymore.

  27. ai-chin says:

    Bradley, that is a good one. Attending corporate worship has become part of our to do list. I have seen ways too many examples that people are giving excuses such as “I came home late last night because of some family events. I need to rest. I have not been resting well this week.” Going to corporate no longer the priority of our life. What if God says this to us “I am tired today. Too many children are waiting for Me to take care of their businesses. I will hold on your requirement because other children’s requirements are more important than your.”

  28. Ben Little says:

    In response Jessica Wan’s questions, I honestly don’t see how fellowships or small groups could be considered “corporate worship.” First, look at the reason that these groups are getting together. It is obvious in the name of their groups: “fellowship.” While “fellowship” is an important factor of a Christian’s life, it is not “worship.” Fellowship has become a breeding ground of individualism in today’s world as people use it to meet their personal needs of social pleasure.

    Also, these groups have demographics that are welcomed in simply by association. If there is a “group” for young couples, singles, married with children, etc, this is already becoming exclusive of other demographics. Corporate worship is for the entirety of God’s body. Everyone should feel comfortable in joining in regardless of age, race, or stage of life.

    I know that this is an ideal that most churches don’t adhere to. The majority of people worship with those whom they are most alike ethnically, socially, and share similar convictions. However, the Body of Christ, the church, is any and all believers.

    Here’s a start to answering her questions anyways.

  29. Daniel La Nu says:

    Self conscious view largely affects how people view the congregational worship. Corporate worship is not an option, nor it is something that pleases most people in the congregation because it is not an event or festival of some sort. Its collective expression of faith and communal aspect cannot be replaced by worshiping individually through Christian channels on satellite TV.

  30. Brandon H. says:

    To also comment on your question Jessica, I do firmly believe that fellowship and corporate worship are two distinct things and fellowship should not replace corporate worship. Fellowship is a vital part of a corporate gathering, but it is only part of the larger purpose and function of the corporate worship service. Like Ben mentioned, fellowship can lead to individualism, but I can also see where fellowship can lead to drawing a church of different ages, backgrounds, and culture together. In relation to the major question of this article and how most people of our generation view corporate worship, this is one of the reasons why corporate worship needs to be made a priority in one’s life.

  31. Youjin Lee says:

    In his article, Dr. Aniol mentioned, “To be cut off from the cult is to die–both spiritually and ultimately physically as well. Therefore participation in the cult is hardly a take-it-or-leave-it affair; it is an essential prerequisite for living, indeed for survival.”
    I totally agree with what he asserted. A believer cannot live by faith by himself. Today’s individualism deeply affects one’s point of view on considering of self-worship. People usually think that it is so important to stand before God individually. However, as a weak and wicked being, human beings cannot hold their belief by themselves.
    Hebrew chapter 10 verse 25 says, “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.”
    Believer are to corporate together in Christ to worship Him. That is the commitment based on the Word of God commends.

  32. Jared Longoria says:

    I think Jessica is describing the home-church movement. The group gathers and no doubt has “fellowship” at the beginning and end of the event, but the middle is all about worshipping as a corporate group (singing, praying, reading Scripture, the Lord’s Supper, and even baptism). So, yes, I think “fellowship” as she described it would work. Though, I wouldn’t call it a replacement of corporate worship; instead, I would call it a relatively small and more intimate practice of corporate worship.

  33. Bora Kim says:

    I agree with Jin Young’s opinion. I was one of the people who went to church on December 8, 2013. At that time, I didn’t think many people will come to church. However, contrary to my expectation, the most of my church members came to church and worshiped together. I was shocked that my thought was greatly influenced by my surrounding environment.
    Actually, closing church is unimaginable at all in Korea. Since the snow was too thick for the car to move, my grandparents went to church on foot for three hours. When I was young, my grandparents often told me their experiences like this. True worshipers engage the heart of God regardless of their circumstances or environment.

  34. Yangji says:

    The importance of corporate worship has been proved through Church history. Early church desperately tried to gather together even threatened their lives by persecutors. Further more they made Katakom for corporate worship. That was not the matter of choice but indispensable element that church should keep. These days Christians in Nations like North Korea and Middle Eastern countries are witnessing it.

  35. John says:

    Personal devotion, prayer, study, and worship are extremely important in the sanctification process. Nevertheless, men are not islands and we were created to have relationships and are in need of others for the sanctification process as well. We are always in need of accountability and fellowship, two aspects that are only parts of the definition of corporate worship.

  36. John Gray says:

    In reading one of Ai-Chin’s posts, I am also reminded of the number of people that view the assembling of the local body as simply a work. We know faith with out works is dead, but the works are not what makes one saved. People come to church because it is what you are supposed to do. In the other extreme, people choose not to come to church because they can worship with their family. Both are incorrect. We gather as a body out of a love for the body, a desire to edify the body, and a command of the father, (not to mention a love for the Godhead). It should seem as if a limb were being cut off if one leaves the body (especially for the purpose of church discipline). God preordained that the church would work as a unit for his glory. Who do we think we are to think that corporate worship is not necessary?

  37. Eunji says:

    According to Faulkner, corporate worship is not optional but mandatory. Regardless, any circumstances Christians should have prioritize the corporate worship over self-consciousness.

  38. Keji L. says:

    I believe that fellowship/small group can not replace the sunday worship—corporate worship. The purposes for fellowship are varies, but they all share the same thing: get people involved and meet their needs. People can maturing in spirit and have communion with other believers and share gospel with unbelievers through fellowship, however, it can not replace the Sunday worship. The purpose for Sunday worship is worship God and have communion with Him, and the only focus should be Him not our individuals. People might have understandable excuse to skip fellowship but the corporate worship on Sunday is not the time we consider about oneself’s convenient but only to worship God.

  39. Bradley Anderson says:

    Jessica…you pose an interesting question. I think fellowship/small groups are great and can be a great resource for people in the church. However, it should never replace corporate worship. Let’s be honest about the makeup of small groups…they are most likely people we actively associate, hang out with outside of the group, people with which we share some (or much) in common, etc… While there may be singing and Scripture reading and prayer and even solid instruction from the Word of God, there is still this individualistic and selective quality to small groups. There is something truly unique about coming together (on Sunday…or Saturday) in a corporate worship setting and worshiping alongside people who may not know, hang out with, have anything in common with or maybe not even associate with (dare we admit that…). I love what Ben put about worship and the entirety of God’s people. It may not be convenient as the small groups may be and you may not get along with every at church like you do in your small groups…but that’s the beauty of it. Again, I think many young people relegate worship to something on their “to do list” and easily think they can scratch it off by hanging out with their small groups, when in reality they have missed out on the beauty of corporate worship.

  40. Boyoung Lee says:

    I think that one of the important things as the Christians is the relationship, first of all, with God and also others. God said ” Love the Lord your God with all my heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this; love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these(mark 12:30,31)” Jesus mentioned not only loving God but also loving others. That includes the importance of living with other as much as loving God. The worship is for God with others who are beside me. and also Jesus mentioned that we are the one body in Christ consisting of other different functions. We grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work. The cooperate worship is not only for praise and glorify God, but also is the training to love and build each other.

  41. Emily Ham says:

    To add answer to the question of this article, I think the different thinking on religion differs with most of people today because they think Christianity is one of the religions that people can choose to believe or not. Church is not their priority because they live well enough without involving in church. However we Christians should be aware of keep the importance of corporate worship because the Bible emphasizes us the oneness and being within the church we can actually practice loving one other and learn to be in one mind, in one accord.

  42. Kaitlyn says:

    Wow, Jessica, thanks for contributing such a great question to the discussion. I love tracing how many responses there were to your one querry. It’s a good thing for all of us to consider and I doubt that any of us can individually fully do justice to such a broad question. Thanks Jared, for potentially clariftying another way of looking at the term fellowship group. That frames the question in a different light.

    I certainly hope that the church will never forsake the unique privilege of gathering in a corporate body of worship that spans age groups and life stages. I think also that relying only on a small group for church fellowship could forsake the clear biblical directives for church leadership positions and authority distributed among elders and deacons as Paul instructs in his letters to Timothy. Other key components of the body of the church could also be lacking if the entire structure of the church was relayed only to small fellowship groups or home churches. At the same time, I think that smaller groups of community and fellowship are a natural outgrowth and result of a healthy church body that seeks to practice the koinonia fellowship exemplified by the early church. So I would argue for the practice of both in church structure that reflects the New Testament’s directives but I would never condone completely replacing corporate worship with small group fellowships.

  43. Grace Chang says:

    I agree with the points of Boyoung. Corporate worship is about Christians worshipping God as the one body in Christ. Some churches have different worships for teens and adults, or different groups. I think this is destroying the unity of congregation and it may lead to the split of church.

  44. Jin Young Park says:

    I think Jessica’s question is interesting and important because corporate worship cannot replace fellowship and small groups. I believe that corporate worship could include fellowship and small groups. Also, I believe that fellowship and small groups are different from Sunday worship. Fellowship and small groups support Sunday worship. They cannot replace Sunday worship. Fellowship and small groups focus on not only God but also people while Sunday worship focus on only God. Fellowship and small groups offer people to share their thought about the Bible and their prayer requests. Also, small groups can help people to find answer from the Bible and sermon.

  45. Kyu Lee says:

    Today, we are living in the society where people do not have time to know other neighbors in next doors. People are busy with their own life and routine even myself. However, we should not worship our God only on Sunday. We have to understand in the bible that God eager to receive our songs and worship as we gather in corporately. It is very important to start corporate worship in the family every day (if you can without legalistic way)

    Like in the time of OT, God commanded Israelites to come to him corporately. God restored his covenant (Blessings) to his people and offer mercies through corporate worship. Even in the NT, the apostles gathered together and pray unceasingly(Act 1:12-26). Thus, through corporate worship, God restore his blessings through the body of Christ. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…” (Heb 10:24-25)

  46. Jessie W says:

    It is very important that ALL come to corporate worship. A small group or fellowship can never replace this experience. As Scott posted about how to be separated from the cult is a matter of life or death. God made is clear to ancient Israel and to us how important it is to come together and worship as one body, the church. The cults of pagan religions also tend to agree that their corporate worship experience is important to their well being as well. I believe this need for corporate worship is instilled in the very grain of who we are as humans. God created us to be communal beings and God set aside corporate worship as a way for us to achieve this.

  47. Sze Wing Ho says:

    The view of corporate worship in the is directly related to peoples’ physically lives. It is also a manifestation of ethos in which the god-fearing people actually do something to show their faith.
    In the modern view, corporate worship is a celebration of faith. It is not directly related to our physical bodies but our spiritual or eternal lives.

  48. Wendy Ku says:

    As Faulkner said, cult for the fully world-conscious people is a life-and-death matter: “To be cut off from the cult is to die–both spiritually and ultimately physically as well.” The way we see corporate worship and how much we engage in it actually points out a fact: whether or not we take worshiping God in a corporate setting as the center, or the top priority in our lives.

    One interesting fact. I grew up in Taipei, Taiwan, and illness like flu or cold usually don’t prevent us from working or going out. As long as we have strength to walk, we would wear sanitary mask to school or workplace, and even to church. So if some of you have a chance to visit Taiwan someday, don’t get too shock seeing people wearing sanitary mask on the street!

  49. Jacqueline says:

    I agree with what Bora said, it is needed for one to worship individually, but that should apply in regular daily lives, but at the same time, corporate worship is needed as well, for God created human to be in the community to worship together as a church.

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