Is worship on Sundays an activity that individuals participate in, or is it something that everyone participates in together (corporate worship)? Is Sunday worship a time for individuals to come before the Lord, laying down their burdens, confessing their sins, and listening to the sermon to hear God's word for that individual? Or is it a time for the congregation to come before the Lord together, laying down the needs of our church and our city, confessing the sins of our church and its need for Jesus, and hearing and responding to the preaching of God's Word as a community?
The simple answer is…yes. It is a time for both individual and corporate worship. It may be easier to understand why individual worship is important, especially in our individualistic, urban setting. It may be more difficult to understand the importance of corporate worship. David Mathis from John Piper’s Desiring God website writes about five benefits (though not limited to these five) of corporate worship. They are:
1. the experience of awakening
2. the assurance that we receive in believing in the same gospel
3. the advance that we experience in sanctification while worshiping
4. the practice of accepting another's leading
5. the accentuated joy of worshipping the Lord together
I invite you to take a look at the full article here.
In closing, let us consider this passage from the Letter to the Hebrews:
"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 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 10:19-25 ESV