Do I really have to go to church?
Sometimes we hear stories of people’s experiences at church...you know the type-scary, boring or just uncomfortable. Sorry if you are one of these people. Church is and should be completely the opposite. Church should be welcoming, interesting and comfortable. It all depends which church you go to for example, are Bibles open or shut? Is there respect for the speaker? Are the members friendly?
The question here is, "Why go to church?" You may be thinking, "What can I get out of church?'.
To find an answer for this question, we need to first understand the purpose of going to church. Once we do that, you can figure out for yourself whether or not you "need" to go or not.
First, let's all agree that merely going to church doesn't guarantee anyone a place in heaven. There will be people in heaven who did not and could not go to church while on earth. Conversely, many people won't be in heaven even though they went to church every week.
Let me suggest that the purpose of church is to provide a great environment for you to be changed so you are more like Jesus. This is accomplished in four ways:
- God wants us to fellowship with those of like-minded faith. (See Hebrews 10:25.) On a human level being part of a group satisfies an innate need for belonging and acceptance.
- God has blessed certain people with the ability to give messages to the people of God. They do this every week in church. That suggests there is a need for them to have someone to listen to God's word through them. (Romans 10:14 and Romans 12:5-6)
- You can minister to others. You might be the smile someone needs for encouragement, the shoulder someone needs for comforting, the ear to listen to another's confession, or the lips that provide the answer to someone's question. Church is a great place for you to exercise the ministry gift God has given you to be a blessing to someone else.
- You give someone an opportunity to minister to you. Maybe you've had a tough week. Maybe you have questions about your parents or school or siblings. There's no better place to find the answers and comfort and support you need than a church of people who genuinely care about you.
Of course, it is our purpose to do these things outside of church as well. Remember, Jesus gathered weekly with others for fellowship, worship, and preaching (Luke 4:16). If He did, don't you think it would be good for us to do the same as well?
Perhaps God wants you to attend church (to the best of your ability) because it makes you, your neighbours, and your world a better place. Now you have to ask yourself ... "Should I go to church?"
What do you think?
By C. K. Lester