“I’m a good Christian. I believe in God, love Jesus, do good works, and everything that goes along with being a Christian. But I just don’t get it. Why should I go to church? I can worship just fine at home or even better out in nature. I can learn from videos and podcasts. All I get from going to church is judgmental hypocrites who care more about their offering plates and internal church politics than living like Jesus.”
Have you ever had that conversation? It’s a remarkably common sentiment. Is gathering as a church essential to being a Christian? Why should I go to church?
1. Because They Told Us To
Let’s get the simplest answer out of the way. No, there is no commandment of “Thou shalt go to church every Sunday.” However, the New Testament authors make it clear that we should be gathering with other believers. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25). Other passages like Ephesians 4 discuss why gathering is important and how it benefits us all. The early church gave us an example to follow, and isolation was never a part of it.
2. Because It is Good for You
Isolation is a dangerous thing for a Christian. Theoretically, yes, you can stay connected to God in prayer and Bible study without a church or Christian community. In practice, people rarely do. Where will you go when needing encouragement or advice? Nobody is around to hold you accountable. That’s an easy way to stagnate or get distracted and distant.
I’m going to be blunt here. We face a powerful enemy in this world that tries very hard to drag us away from God. Are you so arrogant that you think you can take that fight on your own when countless others have failed? Yes, God is with us, but Jesus built the church as one of our greatest defense mechanisms. We are stronger together.
3. Because We are Stronger Together
Not only should you go to church for your sake, but the sake of others around you. To again be blunt, these kinds of reasons why you shouldn’t go to church are often entirely selfish. Set aside what the church can do for you. What can you do for God’s kingdom? I don’t just mean money dropped in the offering plate. Are there people that you can mentor or needy that you can serve? Churches are there to also serve the community. Are you here for God or yourself?
Yes, it is uncomfortable to deal with sinful people. That’s inevitable when people gather together. Not every church faithfully takes care of its members. The church has hurt plenty of people by not living up to Jesus. I understand, but I would suggest you keep looking elsewhere. There is a community of believers out there for you. Don’t give up on the body of Christ.
Discuss your thoughts for this post on our Facebook Group here.