Today: 22 September 2014
 
 

  

Why go to church? 


Church is really the people,
not the building

Surely it's possible to be a Christian without going to church?

Is it possible to believe in God without going to church? Yes. Is it possible to believe that Jesus is who he said he was: the Son of God, without going to church? Yes. Is it even possible to believe that Jesus died for the forgiveness of your sins and rose again, conquering death, without going to church? Yes.

But is it really possible to respond in worship, in the submission of your life to him, in becoming a disciple, without being a part of the fellowship of his followers? Is it possible to receive all the gifts God wants to give you, and to use them for his glory, without other Christians around you?

Our response to what God has done for us is rightly personal. However, there is something deeply profound, important but intangible, about learning to respond to God together.

Jesus spoke clearly about the importance of loving one another, and said that this is how we would be recognised as his disciples. He also commissioned his disciples to go and make more disciples, having trained them, sending them out in pairs.

The apostle Paul writes about the church as a profound mystery. He describes us as a body in which every part—small or large, seemingly important or apparently insignificant—every part is of great value and to be considered necessary in the body.

Paul also speaks of us as a temple, and both Jesus and John speak of the church as the bride of Christ.

God chooses to use us, his people, in an amazing way; he works in this world through the prayers and the actions of his followers. He uses the prayers of individuals, yes, but his power is particularly released when two or three gather and agree in his name. It is certainly the testimony of the church through the ages that unity amongst his people is extremely powerful.

On a practical note, being part of a group with others who share your beliefs, values and an understanding of your journey, at least in the main, will be a support and aid to your growth in Christ. Can a coal continue to burn for long without other coals? Is it not true that the warmth of a fire is much stronger that the sum of the flames of each coal?

No one claims that going to church is always fantastic, nor that being part of a church is easy. Churches and the people in them make many mistakes, just as we all do in so many areas of our lives. But seeking God’s way together and learning to love differences teaches us essential truths about the depth and breadth of God’s character and love. It also gives us an opportunity to follow the way of forgiveness, grace and mercy! Don’t miss out on this wonderful, if challenging, aspect of discipleship.


Explore this subject in more depth

Look up what St Paul said about meeting together

Look up the NT story about how the first Christian church was established at Antioch

Watch vox pops of what people think about church

Watch the music video In the Fellowship

Smile: watch Mr Bean go to church

Smile: watch funny church moments

Watch the music video for Never Went to Church

Read the book What About the Church? By Nicky Gumbel


 


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