Over the years there have been many articles written on “Why You Should Go To Church.” People debate back and forth whether you have to attend a church in order to be a Christian. However, I would like to approach the subject from a different angle. I would like to share just a few thoughts of “Why You Shouldn’t Go To Church.”
First, I want to tell you that You Shouldn’t Go To Church If You Don’t Want To Love Other Believers. It’s true that you can be a football player and not participate with a team. However, you will not be able to accomplish much, and you definitely won’t play a game without your other teammates.
In Ephesians 5:22-32, Paul speaks of the love that should be present between a husband and wife. He compares it to the love shared by Christ and the church. You just really can’t love Jesus and ignore his wife. He loves the church—and you should be part of the bride He loves. Part of that is “loving” the church when it is gathered.
In gathering together for worship in a local church, Christians share the love of God for His people. Sure, we must distinguish between capital “C” Church and lowercase “c” church (the people of God around the world and the local group of believers with whom we gather), but the Scriptures indicate a clear need for togetherness within the people of God. Earlier, in Ephesians 2:19-22, Paul writes that we are members who are joined and built together as the “household of God.” That takes feet and faces, not just books and electrons. In the New Testament, community requires (and clearly assumes) congregation. So it should be with us. So you shouldn’t go to church if you don’t want to love other believers.
Second, I want to tell you that You Shouldn’t Go To Church If You Don’t Want To Support Other Believers. Scriptures teach that you need to go to church. Now, I get that it is much more than a building that we go to. We need to be the church, not just go to church. I could add 14 more caveats and still not cover them all, but I’m sure someone will object to the idea of “going” to church. But, the fact is, Hebrews 10:24-25 is still in the Bible and it says: “And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
The writer of Hebrews clearly took issue with believers “staying away” from worship gatherings. Gatherings of God’s people are a means of encouraging one another—and we need that support. We also need to give that support to others. Yes, at times the church can be a mess, but it is still God’s plan. So you shouldn’t go to church if you don’t want to support other believers.
Third, You Shouldn’t Go To Church If You Don’t Want To Accomplish God’s Mission.
The average church service is not the best venue for many. We need to not miss that. I resonate with that sentiment because I am the same way. I, too, connect to God through working and I love that sentiment. But this is beside the point. This discussion is more than simply whether the church is for you, if it meets a need or if you feel you don’t need it. The fact is that God has chosen the church to be his instrument. Ephesians 3:10 says, “This is so God’s multi-faceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavens.” Now, the church is not the center of God’s plan—Jesus is. But the church is central to God’s plan. It is the means through which God has chosen to work. So you shouldn’t go to church if you don’t want to accomplish God’s mission.
Finally, You Shouldn’t Go To Church If It’s Just About You. At it’s simplest, the church is not just about you. You and I are not customers, but rather we are co-workers in Christ. You are a disciple, following a Savior—who established a church and placed you in it with other people who also need your presence and partnership. In an essay he wrote 14 years after his conversion, C.S. Lewis communicates the realization many of us go through: “I thought that I could do it on my own, by retiring to my rooms and reading theology, and I wouldn’t go to the churches… But as I went on I saw the great merit of it. I came up against different people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit just began peeling off. Church gets you out of your solitary conceit.”
The church is not just about what you can receive from others, but what you can also give to others. So you shouldn’t go to church if it’s just about you. This Sunday at South Side Church of Christ we will gather together to love and support other believers, and to do our part to accomplish God’s mission because we know it’s about Him and not about us!
Lead Minister Southside Church of Christ