I ask a lot of people why they go to church, or, why they go to the particular church they go to. Surprisingly, I get a lot of different answers. I say that this is a surprise because, almost without exception, the reason that each person gives is the obvious answer: that they would never consider that anyone else would find a different reason.
Most people who go to church really don't think about why. They just do it; but when you take the time to really discuss their reasoning and justifications, the answers can be startling.
Okay, so no one really comes out and says this, at least, not outright and not right away. But, in the process of talking, this idea distills the most common reason. "We go to Church so that the world around us will have a good example to follow." That's probably the kindest way to put it. Essentially, most people who go to church resolve that going to church is what good people do. And, if they don't, they'll cease to be good people... and nobody wants that to happen.
2. People go to Church to avoid condemnation
If we were to suggest that people were intimidated into submission, that the church community uses negative pressure to compel attendance, we would find ourselves defining many churches as cults. That's what cults do: force compliance and individual subjugation through abuse, intimidation or fear. But, this is the second most common reason I'm given by people who habitually attend Christian services. It is not that the church employs devices to consciously manipulate people (that's the difference between a cult and a church), it is just that people place upon themselves this sense of obligation due to their own need to be accepted.
3. People go to church to feel accepted
So, that's sorta like the last one; but different in that it is positive. People want to go to church because they want to be there; not because they fear not being there. But, this same reasoning works for any other civic or community gathering. They might as well join the Elks, the Lions or the PTA.
4. People go to church because they enjoy the music
This is often in combination with the above two. They would just as easily go to the club because they enjoy music. But, this music is different because it is presented in a community that they feel is morally superior.
5. People go to church because of activities for the children
There are a lot of different organizations that offer activities for children. But, generally, church is free. And services offer an opportunity for parents to not be parents for a while.
6. People go to church to learn about God
Church is known more as in instructional institution than anything else, yet, only a handful of people that I've talked to have suggested that their primary reason for going is instruction.
7. People go to church to draw close to God.
Others will say, "You can draw close to God anywhere." But a few people have found that the best way for them to enter a more intimate relationship with God is by gathering together with other people who share that same goal.