In all of society’s hastiness to be a part of something today, we have allowed ourselves to be fooled into several mistaken beliefs. One of these beliefs is that, somehow, a Christian doesn’t need to go to church to be Christian. This is more false than it is true. This is actually disobedience to God.
First, let us look at the definition of church. A church is a building for public and especially Christian worship; the clergy or officialdom of a religious body; a body or organization of religious believers; a public divine worship; a particular Christian organization, typically one with its own clergy, buildings, and distinctive doctrines, and an institutionalized religion as a political or social force. The general consensus here is that religion and Christianity are associated with church. By attending regularly, you are regularly declaring your faith. We do not go to synagogues. We do not go to temples. We go to churches.
By all means, we should be the church, and not simply go to the church building. That I’m not disagreeing with. What I’m saying is, you cannot be the Church (Body of Christ) if you do not function with the rest of the body. Pay attention to 1st Corinthians 12:12-31 (I know, long read). Does not it say, “And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.”? Regardless of whether or not you go to church, every Christian is a member in the body of Christ, but keep reading. “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues.” If you didn’t notice, God appoints people for church.
Now of course translations can conceptualize many things. However, one thing remains true: God always establishes a place of worship and a hierarchy to operate that place of worship. Look at the various moments in the Bible where altars were built to honor God (Genesis 8:20-22; 12:6-8; 33:18-20, 1st Samuel 2:27-28). Look at what God had Israel create after they left Egypt (Exodus 20:22-26).
Church can be held anywhere. However, the building and the routine symbolize more than we tend to realize. Look at the verbiage. We make churches to please God (pleasing odor). We make churches to remember the Lord and what He promised (I will give this land). We build churches to make our intentions know to all know draw near (El-Elohe-Israel). We build churches because we have been chosen by God to have a relationship with Him (I chose him out of all the tribes). We build churches to invite God to come to us and bless us (I will come to you and bless you).
These reasons are crucial to your experience with God. This is not your house, where you invite films, books, music, and more that are not focused on God. This is not a school, where the focus is education of the mind and not education of the spirit. This is not a shopping center, where the focus is making money, not making disciples of God. Wherever you gather, the intention should be known as soon as you say to yourself, “I’m going to church today.”
My pastor also revealed a unique perspective on why we should gather in a building. It was looking like a sunny Sunday morning when church started. However, 30-40 minutes in, a powerful storm rushed over the building, knocking out the electricity. The music turned off; the microphones no longer functioned. We had to sing louder and move closer so that we could still hear. A good reason to gather in a building is that there are no distractions.
It is wonderful to enter a church where the intent is there and there are no distractions to follow. It is not too hot or humid to where our sweating may bother us. There is no wind to flip our pages without our permission. There are no people walking through to distract us from what God is trying to say. The church building starts off the focus. It is not someone’s house with a refrigerator nearby or a tv that can play football. It is a place of worship where we can regularly and intentionally invite God to dwell without other spiritual influences from the week having roamed inside (assuming your church is being obedient).
Pay attention to the place where you worship. Is God the only spirit being invited in throughout the week? Some of us worship in shopping centers, schools, hotels, houses, etc. What was the intent of the people who occupied that space before you? You worship on a Sunday but devil worshippers could’ve been there on Saturday. It is best to own your own church building where no one but the people of God occupy the sanctuary throughout the week.
You may not have known how important the building was, but you should definitely know how important the people are. You must go to church to fellowship with likeminded believers. 1st Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.” You need to continuously worship, serve, and fellowship with those who love Christ with the intention of gathering together to implore God to reveal Himself in the room with you. It is not enough to read the Bible every day and spread the Gospel. The originator of the Gospel, Jesus Christ, fellowshipped with at least 12 disciples as He preached to multitudes. You are not better than Christ Jesus and as a Christian, aren’t you trying to be more like Him anyway?
There is nothing wrong with starting at a small group, community group, bible study, or fellowship night. However, in my opinion, men’s group will never be church. Small group will never be Sunday/Saturday service. The vibe is more casual. When you step into a space with God, you need to be serious and intentional. Some small groups are fantastic, but your gathering together still cannot be limited to such small numbers. We are a community. We are a neighborhood. We are a city. We are a family.
For those of you still undecided or flat out refusing to go to church, read the Word of God: Romans 12:4-8, 2nd Corinthians 6:14, Hebrews 10:23-25, 1st Corinthians 14:26, Colossians 3:16, James 5:16, etc. We are called to worship with each other, pray with and for each other, use our gifts given by the Spirit to bless one another, hold each other accountable to the Lord, and we are to encourage one another. Part of the journey with Christ is allowing people of the same spirit in. You cannot walk this path alone. No one is capable. Any attempt to do so is disobedience to God, for He inspired His disciples and apostles to say those very things about fellowship in the Bible.
So why do you need to go to church? In summary: God declared ad decreed that you need to fellowship with other believers on a regular basis. When has God ever suggested something that was not in your best interests? You need to enter into a place where the intent to worship and hear from God is clear and continuous, again assuming your church is being obedient in seeking God. It is not some place where five/six days out of the week the building belongs to carnal things, but a place that is continuously, seven days a week, open for God and God alone. You need a place where you won’t be distracted from God, either by the physical elements or the temptation to do anything other than worship and hear from God. You need to continually serve God’s people – your brothers and sisters in Christ – as they serve the city.
Let’s take one last look at God. He is all powerful. He created everything. He doesn’t need us to fellowship with Him, we need Him to fellowship with us. Yet, knowing our weakness and shortcomings, He set forth a plan to bring us all together as family. Your church may have drama and evil in it, as with all places so don’t judge. We are humans. We know not what we do. Your church, as weak and hypocritical as it can be, is still better for you than most of the other places you fellowship in. Why? Because the intent of a church is to invite God to appear, speak, bless, and commune with us. I will take a church trying to do right by God over any other place trying to do right by men. Consider for yourself how important fellowship with other Christians needs to be. Talk with God, read His word, and you’ll see you need to continuously be involved with other believers who make it a point to seek God intentionally as often as possible. Be blessed as you go forward. Thank you for reading.
 Credit to google search and merriam-webster.com