Every day we make choices based on our priorities. We choose to stay home or go out based on what is truly important to us. We even use the term "essential" to demark the heights to which we raise certain activities or places.
For the lost and carnal believers, anything spiritual is non-essential. That doesn't make it so, it is just that spiritual things do not interest them.
Even some who claim to be spiritual Christians have lost the urgency or essentiality of many spiritual activities: Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, etc. What was once a high priority for them is now a mere afterthought. Those who used to be in church every time the doors are open can fall into a place where they have no more concern about missing church services for any number of reasons.
However, church is essential for several reasons:
1. Church is essential because it is commanded. Hebrews 10:25 is still in the Bible, even though we have been required to miss assembling recently. Now that the restrictions are being slowly lifted, we should not be content with sitting at home watching the live stream or trying to fit in a view whenever it is convenient. We should feel an obligation of obedience to our Lord to be in our place.
2. Church is essential because it is encouraging. In Hebrews 10:25, we are told that we need to assemble to exhort one another. The word "exhort" means "to invite; console; implore." These are the elements of encouragement. When we sit at home and watch the live stream when we could physically meet with our church family, we are missing out on the encouragement that we could give to someone else. In fact, when we fail to attend we discourage those who notice our absence. We also miss out on the encouragement that we could receive from someone else.
3. Church is essential because it strengthens our faith. Remember the Sunday afternoon/evening of Resurrection Day? Jesus met with the disciples and built up their faith. They were "ready to charge hell with a squirt gun." That is, all of them except Thomas. Thomas wasn't strengthened in his faith. He was still grovelling in doubt simply because he failed to think that church was essential (especially a Sunday afternoon/evening service). Thomas did attend the following Sunday afternoon service and Jesus showed up! All of a sudden, Thomas' faith was strengthened, and he was just as excited about the Lord's resurrection as the other disciples had been the week before. We need to be present with God's people so that our faith will be strengthened.
4. Church is essential because it gives a testimony. When we claim to know the Lord Jesus and fail to meet with Him and His people, we are saying something to the lost world around us. We are saying that Church is not essential, and even implying that Jesus is not important. Giving church such a low priority in our lives is also a poor testimony to new converts. A baby Christian looks to those who have been saved for a longer period of time to find out how to practically implement their new-found faith. How sad when the testimony they see says that family, travel, work, sports, and everything else are of a higher priority than the assembling of believers. On the other hand, when we believe and practice the essential necessity for church, we are presenting lost and saved alike with a testimony that is sure to please the Lord Jesus.
Each one of us needs to examine ourselves to see whether or not we find church to be essential. If we find that we are giving low priority to meeting together with God's people, we need to repent of that and return to real, energetic faithfulness to the House of God, wherever they might be meeting.