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Is Watching Church Online Really the Same as Going In Person?
Adapted from Crosswalk, Jan 10, 2018

“On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place.”
Acts 2:1

​​Sometimes people can’t attend church in person because they're out of town, at work, attending to the needs of a sick family member, or limited by physical or transportation issues -- and praise God they can experience “church” via technology! It’s a wonderful tool in those scenarios. 
But for those with no restrictive issues, here are five benefits of worshiping together in God’s house, following the example of the early church. 

Fellowship and Relationships
You can find good teaching and truth online, but you need to be in church to experience the fellowship of other believers and to develop relationships within the church body. Connecting weekly with a strong Christian network of friends is life-changing for families! 

Communion, Worship and Prayer
Many churches have a time of prayer, praise, and sharing, where the congregation can receive prayer or share praises. Churches often also share communion together. These genuine biblical experiences provide growth, support and encouragement for families that can't be found elsewhere.  

The Family of God 
Church is not a building—it’s people. And we need each other. We don't attend church solely for our own benefit; we are also to serve the body of Christ, our spiritual family, caring more about others than our own convenience. Watching church from the outside is like being an observer instead of a participant. Church isn’t taking in selfishly; it's giving out selflessly. 

Accountability and Mentoring
There will be times when we can’t make it to church, but it should be the exception, not the rule. The tendency today is to isolate ourselves in front of electronics where we interact with a screen instead of each other. A remote or mouse replaces a friendly hug or handshake. Church is more than listening to a sermon; it’s an experience and an exchange with other believers. It’s where you help others grow, partake in ministries, serve, give of your talents and spiritual gifts, mentor and receive mentoring. There is accountability for growth within a church community. 

Role Model for Children
What role do you hope that church will play in the lives of your children or grandchildren as they grow up and have their own families? What you model for them today is what they will likely aspire to tomorrow. What priorities are they watching you model: God’s house or your house? Teach by example that participating in church is a privilege we should never take for granted. 

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
Hebrews 10:25