I Don’t Go to Church

by Dan Chaney

“I’m a Christian, I just don’t go to church.”

Maybe you’ve been burned by religious people. Maybe you have social setting anxiety. Maybe you just prefer other recreational activities on Sunday. Individual motivations really aren’t the focus of this post.

"I’m a Christian but I don’t go to church" sounds reasonable, possibly even preferable. It’s similar to the phrase you used to hear “I’m spiritual but not religious.” Being dismayed or soured on organized religion is a real thing. So these phrases sound reasonable -- the problem is, they’re just not biblical.
Collective worship is God’s idea!

The word “church” itself means “assembly” (ekklesia).

Church = regular assembling!

“I find God in the woods.”

“I do a lot of my own devotions.”

“My family worships via livestream.”

All of those ideas are great! In fact, if you’re not engaging with God like this outside of collective worship your spiritual life is probably anemic. The issue is: those are all Monday through Saturday things! And to be honest, the mentality of those statements, if that’s all I’m doing, is a little on the selfish side.

God calls us to collective worship on Sunday (Acts 20:7, I Cor. 16:1-2). Hebrews 10:25 tells Christians not to “forsake the assembling of ourselves together.” Do you know why Hebrews 10:25 is so important? Because I can’t do Hebrews 10:24 if I’m guilty of Hebrews 10:25. If I’m not there, I’m not “considering how to stimulate others to love and good works.”

You see, God’s design of assembling is about more than just me! Bear one another’s burdens. Confess one to another. Sing together. Break bread together. There is no “church” without “together” … consistently together! We can’t fulfill those "together"s even if we’re assembling, but it’s infrequently or inconsistently. And we’re robbing ourselves of God’s blessings, we are outside of His will for us, if we’re not consistently worshipping together.

This is not about attendance keeping, a tally sheet being kept somewhere recording how often folks “show up.” I pray what it does is to provoke Jesus-minded people to fulfill God's design for their spiritual life. “Church” is a blessing!

Let me quickly speak to this. If you’ve been burned by church people or disappointed in God's people, well, I’d probably say “Join the club. We all have.” Anytime you get multiple personalities together, friction is a guarantee. I’m not excusing all ungodly behavior. Some groups should be abandoned. I’m just begging you, don’t let the actions of a few cause you to throw away the whole concept.

I think part of God's design of “together” is to encourage us to not be selfish. We can’t always get our way. Sometimes going through a difficult situation with people we disagree with can actually be a healthy thing for us and develop bonds that would never have been that strong without the adversity.

So please, from my heart, consider regularly worshiping somewhere. Get plugged into a local church somewhere. Actively serve others and let them serve you. For your benefit and for God's glory!

Amen, let it be so.

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