Is church necessary?


By Timothy Johnson

Preacher’s Point

On social media, I read posts like, “We will never change the world by just going to church. We will only change the world by being the church.”

In casual conversations, people say things like, “I can worship God at home just as well as I can at church.”

Both statements are true and correct, but the former, while a call for Christians to live like Christ, gives an air that church attendance is unimportant. The last statement leans toward making one think that attending church is unneeded.

These are only two examples of thousands of similar statements. You get the idea. So then, is church necessary?

I have used the statement: “Being in a church does not make you a Christian, any more than being in a garage makes you a car.” The point is that church attendance or membership does not save a person’s soul. Eternal life comes through faith in the shed blood of Christ and its redeeming power. It has nothing to do with how often a person goes to church, if they are a church member, or what denomination they claim. Neither does salvation come through the ordinances or the church’s ceremonies, such as baptism and communion.

If church attendance or membership does not play a part in salvation, is church necessary?

Let me give an example.

Broccoli will help detox the body, improve the skin, and is an excellent source of vitamins A, B, C, and E that help the eyes. Yet, many people will never touch the stuff.

Is broccoli necessary? Technically no, you can live without it. Many live well into old age without consuming it at all. Is broccoli good for you? Yes. Your health would improve if it became a regular part of your diet.

Church is much the same way. Can you lead a healthy spiritual life without attending church? Technically yes but attending or joining a good healthy church will improve your spiritual health.

Consider these things.

When a Christian sins, it hinders our relationship with God. Like the Bible’s prodigal son, the more we sin, the more we move away from God. Sin is nothing more than disobeying God. If God tells us to do something, it is a sin not to do it. If God tells us not to do something, it is a sin when we do it.

God commands us to assemble. Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

God tells us not to forsake the assembly. The assembly is the church. It is interesting how so many Christians are shouting that the rapture is coming soon, yet haphazardly attend church or avoid it altogether when the verse tells us that as we see the day approaching, the assembly is “much the more” important.

Avoiding church or lackluster attendance is a sin and hinders a person’s relationship with God. A keyword of the verse is “forsake.” To forsake implies a lack of zeal or a missing desire. The passage is not talking about anyone who is ill or scheduled to work. It is talking about people who lack the desire to be there.

In church, we can learn from the scriptures, have fellowship with other believers, share prayer requests, testify of blessings we have received, sing praise to His glorious name, worship, and experience countless other benefits. In other words, we can grow in Christ and become more like Him. Going to church should make it easier to be the church outside of its walls.

Many people have experienced something that has offended them, and the offense has caused them to cease going to church.

Without knowing any specifics, here are some general guidelines for when things go wrong in the church.

To both parties, the church, and the individual, when something happens, it should be a time of self-examination by everyone. The individuals involved and the church as a whole.

We should remember that how much someone is offended is a direct barometer of how well they love God’s Word. Psalm 119:165, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” The more you love God’s Word, the less things will offend you.

“But preacher…” Believe me, I know, I know. This happened, that happened, so-and-so is out to get you. In these circumstances, remember the scriptures and do as Jesus said, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:44-45).

Instead of lashing back, do not sit there and take it; pray for them. Act lovingly toward them. Nothing will stop the “heat of the moment” in a church than someone calling out, “Let’s stop and pray about this!” Either people will go silent in shame (which is good) or depart the area in anger. Whatever the response, it is what God told us to do.

A person’s complaints about a church may be legitimate. With that said, I will end by giving you the advice a wise Christian man once gave me. “If you cannot find a good church: start one.”

Preacher Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County Indiana. Website:; Email: [email protected]; Mail: 25 W 1200 N; Kingman IN 47952. Facebook: All Scripture KJV.

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