It’s something I’ve heard said from the beginning of my Christian life, and it was said long before that, too.
“I don’t need the assembly; I can worship God anywhere”
And while the second half of the statement is true, conjoining it with the first half creates an overall false doctrine.
Basically everything we do when we come together has a component that benefits each other.
It’s a fallacy to say “our worship is not about us; it’s about God.” The Lord Himself does not define Christian worship so narrowly. Obviously, when we worship we are worshipping God, but there’s more to it than that; there’s enough to it, in fact, to negate saying “it’s not about us.”
When we pray (to the Father), we also pray together, for and about each other (James 5:17).
When we Commune (with Christ) we also eat the meal together as a family (Paul condemned this not being done, in fact — 1 Corinthians 11:20).
When we study (the Spirit’s Word) we are also learning and growing together (1 Timothy 1:4).
When we sing (to God) we also teach one another (Ephesians 5:19).
Even when we give, our offering is made for the benefit of all, as the money is used to help each other and those around us (Acts 4:34-35).
If you’re not with us, how can you pray with us?
If you’re not with us, how can you eat with us?
If you’re not with us, how can you teach us in song?
And such like.
This year we’re studying how best to love our neighbor. Do you know who your neighbor is? It’s me. I’m your neighbor. I need you to pray with me and for me. I need you to share the Communion-Fellowship meal with me. I need you to teach me in song. The fact is, yes you can go out to the lake, to the woods, to the Arby’s parking lot, or even just stay in bed, and you can worship God, but the Lord gave us the assembly for more than just praising Him: He gave it so that we could help each other, too.
That’s what’s missing, when you’re missing.