Why Gather? – guest post by Cathy Howie

By on January 18, 2014

I am so blessed to be surrounded by quite a few people that encourage my worship life. Cathy Howie is one of those people. Beyond her abilities as a musician, worship leader, and artist, Cathy has a beautiful way of expressing on “paper” all that God is teaching her regarding being His true worshiper. Check out her blog, Worship Devo – and enjoy!

Why Gather?


Why do we come together on Sunday mornings?

This is a serious question, not an off-handed, patronizing shock-question at the beginning of a blog. I’ve been asking myself this for several months.

We don’t need to be together to worship God. We can do that on our own at home, walking through the woods, lying on a beach, or riding on the subway.

We don’t need to gather together to hear the Word of God preached and taught. Again, we can do that at the kitchen table, in the forest, beside the ocean, or in a train car.

So what’s the big deal about Sunday? (And I do believe it IS a big deal.)

There are many passages in Scripture about meeting together. One of the most notable being Hebrews 10:24-25. However, what continues to hit me this week are two passages in Psalm 116:

14 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.

18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the Lord—
in your midst, Jerusalem.

The Psalmist desires to make good in front of God’s people– not for his own glory…

12 What shall I return to the Lord
for all his goodness to me?

…but because God has been good to him.

Once again, in the midst of one of the most hedonistic societies in the history of civilization (though overused, “It’s not about me,” is truer in this situation than any other), can we agree that every worship service is not for us worshipers? Not for my comfort, my preferences, my senses, my edification, or my enjoyment. Not one iota, jot, or tittle. That is not to say that some of our desires aren’t met in the process of worshiping God, but they are merely side effects– not what drives the event or the goals of it.

So, why do we gather together as a church body? Simply, to worship God together and publicly proclaim His goodness.

Nothing else matters except that God is glorified.

Soli Deo Gloria.



What if all of us arrived at our places of worship this week with an all-consuming goal and singular focus that God be glorified in all that is done, said, sung, and thought?  How would my attitude be different? What about my interactions with people would change? How would I handle distractions from this goal? Would I prepare differently today?

Writing this blog can be so humbling and convicting! I’m hoping reading it is, too. Will you join me in this? Can a revolution in our churches start with us, this week, that will change our hedonism into God’s glory as He is enthroned on our praises?


Cathy Howie is the Director of Creative Arts at Trinity Church in Indianapolis and also the Director at Halcyon Arts/Artists in Christian Testimony. Remember to check out her blog, Worship Devo, to read more great worship insights from the Word of God. Thanks, Cathy!


For a more in depth look at what the Bible teaches about worship, check out Worship and the Word or purchase it here!

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  1. Sheila Sternberg
    January 19, 2014

    It makes me sad when people come into the “sanctuary” for the “worship service,” and the main topic of conversation is yesterday’s ball game or next week’s concert or where we should have lunch. We have forgotten the Lord. If there was to be some major tragedy, I bet things would change fast enough. Is that what it’s going to take?

    Deut. 6:10-12 ¶ “Then it shall come about when the LORD your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the LORD who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

    • Pamela Haddix
      January 19, 2014

      Agree. We don’t do a very good job of teaching people how to prepare themselves for worship or how to enter the “sanctuary”…much less the real overall purpose for being there. Can you imagine a church service where everyone came truly prepared and passionate to worship their One True God!? It would truly be a glimpse of heaven!

  2. Cathy Howie
    February 20, 2014

    I agree, Shelia! I had a conversation with a similar thought this week. My question is: What can we do to turn people’s attention to God as soon as they walk in our worship center?

    We came up with some ideas. But first, what are yours??

    • Pamela Haddix
      February 20, 2014

      I’d love to hear these ideas, too! It’s an issue at a lot of churches.

  3. rustyreks
    September 22, 2015

    Start with a prayer to bring everyone into one accord and then a declaration from Gods word about our God, how great and awesome he is. A song of praise to lift spirits and hearts towards God. My personal favorite is short testimonies of what God is doing in peoples lives during the week, something to be thankful to God for. To show others that church isn’t just Sundays. It’s about a relationship with Jesus.