Is Church Absolutely Necessary?
Do I have to go to church if I become a Christian?
The short answer is No. There is no church roster that your name gets automatically inserted into the moment you choose to follow Christ. However, people who have chosen to follow the example of Jesus do also tend to want to imitate His worship habits.
In true Jewish tradition, Jesus went to the synagogue every Sabbath, and we can read in the Bible that He often held gatherings with many people, where he would quote and discuss God’s words, as written in the Bible.
The early church leaders developed this practice, adapting the Jewish Sabbath meetings into gatherings during which Christians discussed Jesus and His significance in their lives, prayed and read the Bible together, sang songs about God together, and encouraged each other in their faith. This sounds pretty familiar, right? These same reasons are why most Christians today want to participate in a church. To be surrounded with like-minded people who are all pursuing God is actually a big help to one’s faith.
One writer in the Bible states: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.” (Hebrews 10:25, NIV)
Churches are also charged with being a practical and spiritual help to the community and to their members. In Bible days, churches took care of local orphans and widows in practical ways. Today, many churches host ministries for battered women and children, the homeless, expectant mothers, and much more. Being involved in a church is a great way to show God’s love in a practical way to many hurting people, both inside and outside of its four walls.
This is church at its best, and although some fall short of this ideal, the worldwide Church is still God’s way to ensure that his people are both encouraged and mobilized to help others.