Why does a Christian need to attend church?
Why should a Christian commit to one local assembly?
We go to church to worship God
He deserves our praise and worship.
He made this beautiful world for us. He gave us the very breath we breathe. And most importantly of all, He put on a robe of flesh and suffered the most painful method of execution humankind has ever invented to save us from hell. The least we can do is to worship His greatness towards us!
The only thing we can give God is our worship
He owns everything. He controls everything. He knows everything. Our worship is the only thing we can truly offer Him.
We are commanded in the Bible to worship God.
The book of Psalms is full of commands to worship Him, not to mention the rest of the Bible. It is, in fact, our biggest job in this life. If we are not worshiping God, it could easily be argued that we are not really saved.
"But I don’t need to go to church."
I can worship God in my own home or out in nature.
Yes, you can worship God at home or out in nature.
But DO you?
Few people who say that, actually worship God at any time.
Church attendance and Home Worship are not mutually exclusive!
You should do BOTH!
That’s right; you should read your Bible, pray, sing, and glorify God privately (in you “prayer closet”), with your spouse, and with your children every day.
you should be in church worshiping with other Christians regularly.
God commanded the entire Israelite nation to gather together three times a year to worship, plus they were required to hold a feast and sacrifices in their own communities on each New Moon (once a month), and the Sabbath in their homes (once a week).
The disciples also worshiped regularly (weekly) after Christ’s crucifixion (Acts 17:2, et al).
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Hebrews 13:17
Different groups at different times and places throughout the church age have required their people to attend services on different schedules.
Sometimes meetings were held once a month.
Sometimes several times a week.
Today, some Amish groups meet every other week.
Some fundamentalist churches meet four times a week.
Here’s the thing, God put specific men in charge of your church to watch out for your soul. Those men pray and decide what schedule best fits the needs of you and the other members of the congregation. In the American culture this usually means 1-3 services per week, with the main service on Sunday morning.
It is quite arrogant and downright disobedient to tell our leaders (and God!):
“I don’t think I need to be there that often.”
It certainly brings frustration to the leadership of a church, makes their burden heavier, discourages them, and is a major cause of burnout. They have to give account for your soul, for goodness sake!
"But I don’t belong to any church."
It is popular right now to be “above” being committed to one church body. We are all, after all, a part of “The Body of Christ.”
And picking just one church is saying we think that church better than any other.
Isn’t that judgmental?
So why not go to church wherever we feel like this week? Only stodgy, fanatics actually belong to a certain church and only attend the one.
God created the institution of “church” just as He created the family and government. The Garden of Eden, Noah’s Ark, the Nation of Israel, and the Early Church all had “inside” and “outside,” those who belonged and those who didn’t.
Those who didn’t were lost.
Examples of the local Church in the New Testament:
- Matthew 18:15-17: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault…if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you…If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
How can you "tell it to the local church” if there is no local church to tell it to? (This can’t possibly be speaking of the “Church Universal.” If it was, it would be giving an impossible command, something God doesn’t do).
- Acts 5:12-13: “Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem.”
This is a local congregation, meeting on “Solomon’s Porch” on a regular basis. They were an inclusive group that no one who wasn’t saved felt comfortable joining.
- Timothy 5:9-12, “Let a widow be enrolled (in the church charity program) if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works…”
How do you know what widows qualify for help without a local congregation for them to have been working in? And how do you organize and extend that help without the local church? You have to have a "roll" in order to “enroll” someone.
- 1 Corinthians 5:12-13: “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside.”
Obviously there was a clear-cut means of identification of who were “inside” and who were “outside.” It is the job of those in the local congregation to keep each other on the straight and narrow; an impossibility if everyone is doing their own thing and not committing to each other.
You see, this shows the major flaw with the “I don’t have to belong to a church” philosophy.
If this is true theology, than no one needs to belong to a church and that means there will be NO church.
If everyone in this church was just like me,
What kind of a church would this church be?
This whole idea of not committing to a congregation is, in fact, incredibly selfish.
Those who don't believe in committing expect the leadership of the church to be there all the time so the church doors are open anytime they “feel like” showing up, whether it’s once a week or once a year, all prepared with an entertaining worship service and a nourishing sermon.
They expect someone else to clean the church, pay the bills, encourage the pastor, and do all the other hard work of keeping a church’s doors open, all without them lifting one little finger to help.
They are, in fact, expecting everyone else to hold to the traditional schedule of being in church every service while holding themselves ABOVE such commitment.
- 2 Corinthians 2:6: “For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.”
This man’s excommunication from the church was a punishment by the majority. You can’t have a majority unless you have a definite set of people from which a majority is constituted.
“Scripture repeatedly commands Christians to submit to their leaders
The only way to do that is by publicly committing to be members of their flock, and saying in effect, “I commit to listening to your teaching, following your direction, and to submitting to your leadership.” Source
There’s no way to obey the scriptural commands to submit to your leaders if you never actually submit to them by joining a local church”
"Are there benefits to belonging to a church?"
- You have someone watching out for your soul. That is the job of the leadership of the church. They will teach you and keep an eye out to prevent you from falling into doctrinal error.
- You have the help of the other members of the congregation in your walk and you are not alone.
- You get to fellowship with other believers, a wonderful, soul-lifting time!
- You have people to pray for you.
- You have people to care for you in hard times.
- You have someone to marry and bury you.
- You have a base and support to launch your own callings in Christ from. It’s the church’s job to help its members in their personal ministries.
- You have a place to belong. Why do you feel at home in your own kitchen but not in a restaurant? It’s because you work to maintain your kitchen and make it function. You become a part of a family when you share in the work. This applies to churches also.
When you commit to and serve in your local church, you become an integral part of that spiritual family.
What do I Owe My Church?
- Your attendance. Your very presence encourages other believers, and especially the leadership, in their walk with God.
- Your recommendation. You should be inviting others to your church regularly.
- Your money. I know, I know. No one wants to talk about this one. But churches have mortgages, utilities, printing expenses, etc, just like anyone else. Plus, the ministry deserves to be paid for their work. The Bible says this pay is to come from the congregation.
“For the scripture said, You shall not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward.”If a man works to feed you spiritually, it is your job to make sure he is fed physically.
1 Timothy 5:18
(see also Deuteronomy 25:4 and 1 Corinthians 9:9.)
1 Timothy 5:18
(see also Deuteronomy 25:4 and 1 Corinthians 9:9.)
4. Your prayers. Prayer is a powerful thing and can move mountains. Your church needs your prayers.
5. Labors. Your pastor can’t do it all. There is a great deal involved in the upkeep of a church building and grounds, as well as a lot of labor in outreach programs, putting together and conducting services, business, etc. It is the member’s responsibility to see that the toilets get washed, the lawn mowed, the neighborhood canvased, etc.
6. Loyalty to the other members. They are your brothers and sisters in Christ and need your prayers and help. They certainly don’t need your gossip (to or about them) or your condemnation.
"What is required to be a Church member?"
Each church has its own requirements, set by the men in charge on the council of God. Go to the ministry of your church and ask them what is required.
At Bread of Life, you must attend regularly for six months, and complete a course of study covering the basic beliefs of the Christian faith called "Foundations of Faith." (See the tab at the top)