If I become a Christian, does that mean I HAVE TO go to church?
The short answer is, “no, you don’t HAVE TO.” The long answer is “Your family needs you and you need them… A LOT, so why shouldn’t you want to?”
When you became a Christian, you joined a family—”the body of Christ.” This means you are now “related” to Christians all over the world! And, as with all relationships, connection and communication is key to ongoing growth. That’s why it’s imperative to your continued spiritual growth to join and contribute to that family by attending a local church.
1 Corinthians 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
When you’re not attending a local church, not only are you missing out, but the church is missing out on your God-given talents and abilities too. Those talents and abilities will only flourish and develop when you go to church. The church is the best place for you to use your gifts and to be encouraged and assisted by other Christians in the cultivation of those gifts until the day of Christ’s return.
Romans 12:6 “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”
Also, the great part about church is that there are no bounds or limits! Contrary to popular belief, church doesn’t have to be in a rigid, brick structure because wherever the family of God is gathered there is God!
Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
The Greek word, which is translated as “church” in the Bible, is ekklesia. This word is made up of a prefix and a root. The prefix, ek or ex, means “out of ” or “from” and the root word, a form of the verb kaleo, means “to call.” Thus, ekklesia means “those who are the called-out ones.” Simply put, He calls those whom He wants and when they meet, He is there. Pretty powerful, right?!
So… do you HAVE TO go to church? No, but you should WANT TO. To be a Christian means to walk in the light of Christ. A great part of walking in the light is walking with others who are striving for the same thing that you are. When we purposely place ourselves among like-minded Christians, there is accountability, friendship, instruction, encouragement, and love for one another. There is a desire to serve one another. In this day and age, when we put it this way, the HAVE TO suddenly becomes a WANT TO and church becomes the true sanctuary it was meant to be.
Hebrews 10:25 “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
Exercise: Go with some friends or family to church this week. List two ways you worshiped God and was encouraged by your church family.