Why do Christians go to Church?
On Sundays all across the world, millions of Christians gather together in buildings called churches. Why?
Why do Christians get together once a week? Does the Bible tell Christians they need to gather together in a building on every Sunday?
You’ve perhaps heard of the ten commandments. However, very few people know about the 11th commandment.
It says this, “Thou Shalt Attendeth Church on Sundays!”
Never heard of this commandment? Good. Because it’s not in the Bible.
The answer to the question, “Why do Christians go to church?” is actually more complex than you’d think. This is because the Bible does not make a black and white statement about weekly church attendance.
Many Christians use this as an excuse to avoid going to church altogether. The general idea behind this argument is that one can be a follower of Jesus without going to a church on Sundays.
In one sense, this argument is completely correct. God is not interested in His followers to check off a list of do’s and don’ts. That includes making church attendance a “do” on a list to get to heaven.
God wants His followers to live the life He intended for them, which is meant to be full of joy, peace, and contentment.
The Bible does not command Christians to go to church. However, it does demonstrate God’s desire for Christians to be in community and to grow as followers of Jesus.
Let’s see what the Bible has to say about community and personal growth, and how that fits in with how Christians attend Sunday services.
We Are Designed for Community
Though the Bible doesn’t say anything about church attendance the way it’s practiced today, what the Bible does offer us is a picture of God’s desire for His followers to be in community with one another.
At the beginning of Creation, Adam, the first human according to the Bible, was alone. God did not like this. He said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)
God called everything in His creation up to this point “good,” and this is the first “not good” ever stated in the Bible. What was this “not good?” Adam was alone.
God does not want anyone to be alone. He wants them to be in community. The Bible goes as far as to say Christian community is supposed to be so tight-knit that it functions like a singular, living organism.
1 Corinthians 12:14-18 says,
“Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, ‘I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,’ that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, ‘I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,’ would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.”
There are countless other verses that can be found about community in the Bible. Here’s the point:
We are meant for community!
God hates when we are alone and without community. He has intricately designed us for community since the beginning. Even better yet, He has given us different gifts so we can serve in that community.
Does going to Sunday morning church provide community for Christians? Yes. But often not enough. So, it is often powerful for Christians to also meet in small groups on other days outside of church.
What Are Small Groups?
Going to Church can be a huge part of fulfilling the need for community. Another great place many Christians find community outside of Sunday is “small groups.” Small groups can go by a lot of names in the Christian world:
- Life groups
- Bible Studies
- Soul Squads
- Breakthrough Brigades
- Praise Packs
- Grace Gangs
And there are many other names that some churches use for small groups. Some of them are pretty comical. Christians love alliteration! 😂
At Central, we call our small groups Life Groups.
Life Groups do life together because the Bible makes it clear we are better together.
Life Groups often meet in homes with somewhere between 6 – 20 people. They eat together, pray together, support one another through struggles, keep each other accountable, and study the Bible together.
It is sadly too common in Western Christian culture to go to Sunday morning church, sit for an hour, and then leave without ever talking to someone outside your own family.
Obviously, as we have discussed above, this isn’t God desire for His followers. That’s why Life Groups can be so powerful.
Check out Rob’s story on how being a part of a life group impacted his life.
Do I Need to Go to Church to be A Christian?
We have arrived at the answer to the question we have all been waiting for: Do I need to go to a church to be a Christian?
Like I said earlier, God is not interested in our lists of to-do’s so we might get into heaven.
However, God does want His followers to have community and to grow in their faith. Going to church can be a great source for both of these needs.
I get it.
We are all busy. But we still need to grow and find community. I believe you can choose to not go to church as a Christian, and God will still love you. But, you are really only cheating yourself.
Never been to a church? Try out our online services and see if it might be something you want to try in person. We are also building online community if you aren’t local to us.
BONUS: Let’s talk about the Big C
During this entire blog, I have been speaking mainly about the little “c” church. The little “c” church is a building that is most used on Sundays. Christians go to the church to find community, solid teaching, and to grow.
As I said before, the little “c” church can be optional for a Christian, though it is often to that person’s detriment. God wants us to be in community.
We are made for more than trying to follow God alone.
That’s why being a part of the big “C” Church is not optional for a Christian. If you are interested to read more about this, check out this blog.