Christian Living

Christians, Is Going to Church Important?

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This post will share my current thoughts and some of my previous academic writing regarding the importance of going to church. I am interested in hearing other people’s thoughts on this question as well. So feel free to share with me.

I have spoken with many folks that identify as Christ followers that are not members of a church nor attend a church. Many people stop going for numerous reasons while still keeping the faith. Some examples of reasons I have heard include:

  • Feelings of being slighted in some way by church leadership or the congregation
  • Not finding a church that meets specific qualifications
  • Personal preferences not being met
  • Hypocrisy among church members
  • Varying views on matters of doctrine and scripture

Despite the reasons, the main logic often seems to be that we don’t need the Church to be saved or to believe in Christ.

Indeed, it is God who saves and not the congregation. We are not saved by going to church but by accepting Christ as our savior. Despite this, I think there are reasons why attending church is vitally important.

It is where Christians have an opportunity to express devotion with other believers. Not only does it have many spiritual and emotional benefits, it also encourages spiritual growth and serves as an outlet for spiritual gifts.

On top of this, it is clear that scripture depicts Jesus and His apostles regularly gathering and recognizing the Sabbath (Luke 4:16, Luke 6:6, Mark 1:21, Acts 11:26, etc), and we are also taught to follow their example.

 

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42, NIV

Humans are relational beings that need a community. We were meant to come together and form relationships with both one another as well as God. This is significant to our identity as Christians and as human beings. This makes corporate spirituality a significant part of both spiritual formation as well as spiritual maturity.

The Christian walk is no doubt personal, but it is also social. God calls us to both be dependent upon Him as well as to be active in the world.  It is important that we find a healthy balance between both individual spirituality and corporate spirituality.

Either way, one of the most significant institutions for Christian community is the Church; a dynamic gathering of people who are aware of Christ’s love.

I can speak from experience about the importance of rejuvenation and fellowship with other like-minded believers. Life can be absolutely draining. As a Christian, I get so exhausted and depressed by the daily barrage of negativity, false teaching, and insults against my faith.

It is no secret that Christians are often required to embrace values and teachings that oppose many of the values and beliefs upheld by culture. God ingeniously designed the Church community for us so we can be supported as well as guided.

When the culture Christians most often times find themselves in is filled with unbelievers and people who even despise Christianity, Christians need to be able to break free for a time and take refuge within the Church community where they can be edified, encouraged, supported, etc.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25, NIV

By sending the Holy Spirit, God gave us all unique gifts and personalities. The sum of all of the parts (unique individuals) makes an incredible whole (the Church) that works together to help one another and to offer service to the kingdom.

There are a series of exhortations within scripture that give us blueprints on how we should develop our roles within the church. There are also a series of ministries built off our spiritual gifts and activity as believers.

“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:4-5, NIV

I think often when choosing to renounce church attendance due to issues with other Christians or with disagreements in points of view, the true reason for attending church is being pushed to the side.

Everyone is a sinner thus the congregation is made up of sinners. There is no getting around that, and that is why Christ died for us. Issues with certain people or their viewpoints are not valid excuses to give up going to a church altogether.

That isn’t to say that someone should stay at a church that is clearly going against God’s word. Of course not. Yes, the actual task of finding the right church can be daunting. With so many denominations and competing views on doctrine, it can be a real struggle finding a church that feels right.

Despite all, we should continue to seek out a church that most closely aligns with God’s word even though no church is perfect.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” Ephesians 5:25, NIV

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10 thoughts on “Christians, Is Going to Church Important?

  1. Some of the reasons for not going to church are:
    People are becoming egotistic.
    My friends don’t go to church, so me neither.
    Sports and training are always on weekends.
    Church has become only a place of worship, people doesn’t feel they belong to a community!
    Church works more professional.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting points. To believe the world “offers too much,” or more than what could be given at church seems like an interesting type of deception. If the numbers of those attending church are not thriving it seems like more of a soul issue among followers, not necessarily an issue with how the church is engaging people. Many prefer the more old fashioned services where they sing only from the hymn book, etc. However, I do know that there are other options as well. A lot of churches are becoming modernized in the sense that they are utilizing technology in new and interesting ways (video, power points, blogs, etc), and also choosing to incorporate more contemporary music (christian rock, etc). We no longer are just seeing pianos and organs during worship services. Many now have electric guitars, drum sets, even ukuleles and bag pipes. Either way, God’s word is timeless and will always be engaging…the messages will forever remain relevant to the times.

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  2. A post well written! Great explaination, an examples! I too believe that we should find a church that speaks the true doctrine! We should not forsake the gathering. As we see in the bible the disciples came together often and rehearsed what they learned!
    Christ came not for the righteous but for the sinners – so its guaranteed that they’ll be there. We all have work that needs to be done in us.

    We are the church, however that doesn’t mean despise the gather.

    FAITH comes by hearing, AND HEARING by the word of God!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved reading this! Wonderful post.
    I know that I, personally, stopped going to church for a long while because I was raised so deeply involved in the church. My dad was (and still is) a music minister, so I was ALWAYS at the church. Often, I spent more time there than anywhere else. (Not that it’s a bad thing.) The negative side of that was seeing how church leaders REALLY behaved and how they really treated others. Obviously there are MANY church leaders who are so genuine and who truly love the Lord. Unfortunately, there are others who have forgotten the reason they likely began their journey as preachers in the first place- their love for God and their desire to help it with others. They become more focused on how people view them and how much recognition they can get from “this” or “that” sermon. Also unfortunate is their focus on money. Having two consecutive church leaders (at different churches in different states) caused me to become very disillusioned with the church. The community didn’t help much, either, as it was predominately made up of wealthy families who used church as a social gathering and fashion show only. As soon as I graduated high school, church became almost non-existent to me for about 5 years or so. I would go every once in a while, but not every Sunday and Wednesday (and the in-betweens) as I did growing up.
    Now, I am so happy to say that the church I attend really IS a community and a family. I have never encountered people as real and as in the Word as ones in this church. Our ministers back everything they do and everything they preach with Biblical support. They do a great job at keeping their own emotions about situations out of it and put the focus on what we are told in God’s Word. As you said in a reply above, we do use modern tech (power-points and song words on a screen, colored lights) and we have a “contemporary” band with guitar, keyboards, bass, and drums. We incorporate old hymns as well as new popular Christian music. But, also like you said, we use the same Bible that has been used for so long and will be used for many many many many years to come.
    Sorry for the long comment, just thought your post was definitely worth a response. Love it! Going to see your other posts right now! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anna,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post and respond. I am glad you liked it. No need to apologize. I read your whole comment and loved it. I enjoyed hearing about your experiences and how God led you to a truly wonderful church community. God bless and have a wonderful day. 🙂

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  4. Ignoring and avoiding church is never a good idea. Jesus started the church and He remains the head of the church. I understand that people have been hurt. I have. https://handfulsofseed.wordpress.com/category/who-writes-this-blog/page/2/
    It is impossible to grow without involvement in the local church. You can learn, but not grow; we need each other. The church is God’s plan. I cannot stress enough the importance of being a part of a local body. Despite the hypocrisy and relational problems, we need each other. I could write an entire post about this subject. I won’t. I hope what I have shared will encourage someone.

    11. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

    12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

    13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

    14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

    15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

    16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11-16

    4. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

    5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

    6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

    7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

    8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

    9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

    10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

    11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

    12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

    13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

    14 For the body is not one member, but many.

    15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

    16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

    17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

    18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

    19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

    20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

    21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

    22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

    23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

    24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.

    25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

    26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

    27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. I Corinthians 4:4-27

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