I think the better question is “What is the Church?” Only the Holy Spirit can define that for us. It’s interesting how often only 1/2 of Hebrews 10:25 is quoted while ignoring the rest of the verse—“and all the more as we see the Day approaching.” It would seem the 1st Century Christians were seeing something approaching. What could that have been?
On top of this, the theme then wasn’t “Do I have to go?”—it was, “should we risk getting killed to meet together?” Attempting to retrofit this verse to a Westernized culture with a persecution complex doesn’t quite work.
In addition, Jesus seemed to define the church as where 2 or 3 are gathered, not where a “group think” is prevalent, and/or there’s one speaker directing his thoughts with no recourse for discussion. We’ve made something that doesn’t resemble the way Jesus did “church,” and then insist that our way is right and everyone has to do it like us or they’re not really Christians. As subtle as this can be presented, it’s still a form of manipulation to have others do what we say, or follow an earthly leader, instead of following the Holy Spirit.
Jesus stated that he came to remove our burdens and set us free to live abundantly. The “church” of the Western world, in large part, wants to re-shackle us to their agenda so they have a larger base for their politics, funding, and general aggrandizement. All the while the world around us is hurting and we only point an accusing finger at them as the problem so we feel better about our own spiritual state.
The Church, as I see her, is us. We can no more “go to church” than we can “go to our self.” The Church is us, where we are, with who we are with. Can there be representations of the Church in the traditional meetings? Absolutely. However, when we prop up these meetings as the way to life in Jesus, we can, in turn, stand in the way of people being free to follow the Holy Spirit wherever that may lead—-even if it’s away from our congregation to help others.
I don’t say any of these things to patronize anyone. It just seems we keep asking bad questions that only seek to prop up reliance on an institution instead of Jesus. Then we use threat, manipulation, condemnation, and guilt to bind others to what we state is the truth. Jesus, though, was all about love. If our approach isn’t in love, then we’re not very good representatives of him, regardless if we gather 7 times a week in a building or never.