Do I Have to Go to Church If I Become a Christian

Do I Have to Go to Church If I Become a Christian?

Billie Jo YoumansBy Billie Jo Youmans6 Minutes

Church attendance is not a requirement of salvation because Christianity is not a set of rules to follow. After salvation, your primary goal is developing a relationship with Jesus Christ – loving Him, loving what He loves, and living life as He lived. That said, Jesus is deeply connected to the Church, because it fulfills our heavenly Father’s greatest desire. And Jesus is always all about pleasing the Father! So, while you don’t have to go to church, if you become a Christian, you may want to when you see it from the Father’s view!

God’s Great Desire

The Church is a grand and glorious construction made of redeemed humanity…broken souls like you and me. United in Christ, we are built into a dwelling place for our heavenly Father. His deepest desire is to dwell with His beloved children – the Church fulfills that desire!

The love of Father God radiates through all creation, but love has a special need. It requires community…or as Oscar Hammerstein said, “Love isn’t love till you give it away.” God’s passion to connect compelled Him to create – even knowing the immense cost He would incur. Connecting to His most precious creation – you and I – cost the life of God’s own son. That’s the message of salvation for each soul…but God’s boundless love embraces much more than one at a time!

Body of Christ

The Body of Christ is another name for the Church. Even if you don’t attend, you become part of it at salvation because you receive the resurrected life of Jesus into yourself. Jesus (God Himself) becomes part of you…and you become part of His Body.  The Apostle Peter describes individual believers as living stones being built into a spiritual temple (1 Peter 2:5). Just as builders chisel stones into shape for specific placement in their building project, God designed each believer to fit together with others. We need each other to create a complete dwelling place for God.

The working of the human body adds to our understanding of this too. Just as our bodies have different parts that work together…the leg needs a foot, the hand needs an arm…Christ’s body has need of every individual. Staying separate from the body (the Church), impairs our function as believers –and it compromises the function of other believers. Ephesians 4 teaches us that Jesus gives gifts to us to equip His Body for the work of the Kingdom. You have what someone else needs – and others have what you need. Only together can we fulfill God’s intended purposes for those redeemed by Jesus Christ.

Bride of Christ

Christ’s passion for the Church comes into clearer view with the title ‘Bride of Christ.’ Paul refers to this as a profound mystery (Ephesians 5:32) affecting every aspect of our lives.  Just as a husband is the head of the family, Christ is the head of the Church. He so loved His Bride, He gave up His very life to purify and prepare the Bride for total unity with Him. Today, He guides and protects His Church – of which you are a part whether you attend or not.  Marriage unites two into one (Genesis 2:24); at salvation you not only become part of the Body, you enter an eternal covenantal connection with Christ as a member of the Church, His Bride.

Learning to Love

Church effectively completes God’s desire because it is a laboratory for love. While it often seems like loving God is easier outside the confines of Church, God tells us that is a lie. In fact, He says that if we can’t love those we can see, we certainly can’t love Him. (1 John 4:20) Learning to love God purely only happens as we pursue knowing Him in community with other believers. The Church is a vital part of who we are as Believers…and a vital part of the mission God entrusts to us.

Experiencing God

Church is experiencing God in connected, loving community with others. It is the pinnacle of prayer and worship. Solo Christianity just can’t compare; in fact, the Bible never mentions independent Christians. So while church attendance isn’t required, once you understand God’s view of church, staying away won’t be an option you want to consider.

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