People give a lot of reasons why they don’t go to church
According to a Pew study the top 3 reasons are:
1) “I practice my faith in other ways”
2) Net dislike for congregation/religious services
3) “I haven’t found a church/house of worship I like”
One thing in common with these 3 reasons is that they all have to do with personal preference or feelings about the church.
While we might want to skip church, the real question is what does God want us to do?
This article is an all-out attack on the idea that we can be healthy Christians without the church.
Being a part of a church isn’t just important, it’s essential.
Here are 28 reasons rooted in scripture on why we should faithfully go to church:
28 Biblical Reasons to Go to Church
1) Go to church so you won’t be hardened by sin
“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12-13)
The church is one of God’s primary means of keeping you from being hardened by sin.
Don’t be hardened by sin.
2) Go to church regularly because God tells you to
“Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some.” (Hebrews 10:25a)
3) Go to church because you need the encouragement and you need to encourage others
“But encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25b)
Notice how the verse says “encouraging one another”.
Not only is a church gathering an encouragement for you, but you are likewise called to encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ.
4) Go to church to hear God’s powerful Word preached
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
As a believer do you value God’s Word?
Is his Word worth enough to you that you would show up in person to hear it read and taught?
5) Go to church to be sharpened and to sharpen others
“Iron sharpens iron,
and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
Without other believers, you will grow dull.
Likewise, other believers need you to sharpen them.
6) Go to church to exercise your spiritual gifts
“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.” (Romans 12:6a)
God doesn’t give us gifts to serve ourselves.
The gifts were given to serve others and glorify God (see the next point).
7) Go to church because you want to be used by God for good
“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7)
This passage also speaks of spiritual gifts and calls them “the manifestation of the Spirit”.
What’s the purpose of this “manifestation of the Spirit”?
The common good!
Don’t waste your incredible gift.
Take what God has given you and use it for the good of all.
8) Go to church because you are a part of the body of Christ
“So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (Romans 12:5)
We are a part of something much larger than ourselves.
All together we are a part of the body of Christ.
To shun the church is to shun the very body of Christ that you are a part of.
9) Go to church to partner in the gospel
“Because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Philippians 1:5)
Do you believe the gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news?
Do you believe the world needs the gospel?
Well here’s a fact: You can’t reach the world on your own.
If we want to reach the world for Christ, we need to partner together with the saints.
10) Go to church to mentor others and be mentored
See in the passage how we have a responsibility to mentor others.
Likewise, many of us need to be mentored ourselves.
Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. (Titus 2:2-6)
11) Go to church to train up your child
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
As we have seen, there are many reasons why God wants us to go to church.
To neglect church then is to neglect training your children in the way they should go.
12) Go to church to love one another
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10)
Notice how the passage says to do good “especially” to other believers?
How can you do good to the household of faith if you avoid them?
13) Go to church to show the world the love of Jesus
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
One of the most powerful examples of Christ’s love on earth is the love shared between the brethren.
The love Christians have for one another should be a blinding spectacle of Jesus’ love to the world.
14) Go to church to bear one another’s burdens
“Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
This verse was given to the church at Galatia and they were called to bear one another’s burdens.
In fact, Paul says this fulfills the law of Christ.
You can’t bear anyone else’s burdens in the church if you don’t even know them.
Stop ignoring the church and fulfill the law of Christ.
15) Go to church to stir up one another to love and good works
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:24)
If you don’t go to church, you will hinder the fruit of love and good works coming from your life.
And don’t forget, there are others that need you to stir them up to love and good works.
Do you want to see more love and good works in the world?
Then you need to actually be in relationships with other believers in the church.
16) Go to church to celebrate baptism and fulfill the great commission
In the great commission in Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus says,
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
How exactly can a Christian fulfill the great commission alone?
How would that work?
Say you lead someone to the Lord and baptize them. Then what?
Send them off on their own because we don’t really need other believers in our lives?
No, the entire work of making disciples is done with relationships in mind.
As a church, we celebrate the baptism of new believers, teach them, and invite them into the family.
17) Go to church to celebrate the Lord’s supper
“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28)
Notice how Jesus says to drink of it “all of you”.
Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper (communion) with a gathering of his disciples.
It is important for believers today to also gather and partake in order to remind each other of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf.
18) Go to church to care for one another
“That there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.” (1 Corinthians 12:25)
According to this verse, what is the opposite of caring for one another?
To separate yourself from the church is to divide the body of Christ.
Don’t be divisive. Instead, care for other members of the body.
19) Go to church to suffer together
“If one member suffers, all suffer together.” (1 Corinthians 12:16a)
Ever stubbed your pinky toe?
Notice how much it affects the rest of your body.
Your whole body lurches awkwardly as you limp.
Your heart speeds up.
Your brain begins screaming “Pain!”
Even your eyes might tear up.
The body of Christ is built the same way. We all suffer when we see each other suffering.
Believe it or not, you can help others by suffering with them.
Suffering together is a blessing.
But to suffer alone multiplies the misery.
20) Go to church to rejoice together
“If one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (1 Corinthians 12:16b)
Being a part of a church will give you endless opportunities to rejoice!
And rejoicing is so much sweeter when others rejoice with you.
21) Go to church because the body needs you in order to grow
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16)
As a member of Christ’s body, you have a part to play.
In fact, you are a part of the building and growing of the church.
When you are properly working as a part of the body, you are actually helping to build the body of Christ.
This is an incredible privilege!
22) Go to church because every part of the body is indispensable
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable. (1 Corinthians 12:21-22)
You cannot say you don’t need the rest of the body and the body cannot say they don’t need you.
Let the truth of this verse sink in.
You are indispensable.
The body needs you.
23) Go to church to remind one another of what we were created for
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
We (all believers) are Christ’s workmanship, created for good works.
Believers have a common purpose for their lives.
Let’s pursue that purpose together.
24) Go to church to live out the reality of who you are
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.” (1 Peter 2:9a)
What do these descriptions of “race”, “priesthood”, “nation” have in common?
They are all groups containing a plurality of people.
Whether you like it or not, you are a part of a group.
This is a part of your identity now.
To hate the church is to hate a God-given part of your identity.
25) Go to church because we proclaim his excellencies better together
Continuing from the last verse, the rest of 1 Peter 2:9 says,
“A people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
God didn’t just create individual Christians to proclaim his excellencies.
He created his chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation to do that.
To abstain from Christian community is to abstain from proclaiming the excellencies of Christ.
26) Go to church to remember who you belong to
“Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people.” (1 Peter 2:10a)
When God saved you, he took you out of isolation and made you a part of his people.
Don’t brush off God’s blessing and isolate yourself.
Rather, rejoice in the fact that you now have a place where you belong!
27) Go to church to get equipped
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-12)
As a believer, you need to be equipped.
Sure, we can easily receive teaching today online, but who is shepherding you?
Without the church, you will be ill-equipped for the work of the ministry.
28) Go to church because we are going to live in glorious unity with God and each other for all eternity
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. (Revelation 21:3)
This is a glorious picture of our future with God and it includes all of his people.
But if you are distancing yourself from God’s people now, you have to wonder if your eternal destiny even sounds good to you.
While you might think you prefer to be alone now, in the end you will see that God’s plan is so much better.
Why not start participating in God’s plan for you now?
But I still don’t want to go to church
I’ve heard it said many times, “I love Jesus, but not the church.”
After seeing these 28 reasons, I hope you will see that saying doesn’t make any sense at all.
If you love Jesus, you can learn to love his body too.
If you love Jesus you can learn to love those he loves.
How do I find a new church? (2 simple steps)
I know in America we can have the problem of having too many options of churches to choose from.
Here’s a simple, 2-step strategy for finding a church:
Step 1) Visit 4 churches in 4 weeks
Step 2) Pick a church and commit to attending and serving for a year
I’ve heard many people say “I tried out that church for a couple of weeks, but I just didn’t fit in.”
I think oftentimes our problem is that we don’t spend enough time in a church to really get to know people.
Relationships aren’t built overnight.
But if you commit to faithfully attending and actively serving, you will build real relationships in the church.
If you’re a believer who has been neglecting the church, I hope you will put your preferences aside and participate in Church community because that is what God wants for you.
Remember, Christ loves his body.
If you love Christ, you will too.
See other posts by Tim (Bio below)
Tim is the senior editor for the ABC Voices blog. He is the director of the Michigan Apologetics Network and is the chapter director of Ratio Christi at Grand Valley State University. Tim and his family are members at Allendale Baptist Church where Tim also serves as an Assistant Pastor. Anyone who meets Tim easily remembers him as the tallest Filipino they've ever met.