Can you still be a Christian and not belong to a local church?
If you’ve been a Christian for any amount of time, you’ve probably struggled with this question. Why do we go to church? The book of Acts is often quoted when discussing matters of the church. In Acts 2:42, it says, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Later in Acts chapter 2, the Bible tells us, “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
So, we know the Bible encourages a gathering of Christians for the purpose of teaching, praying, fellowship, and communion. But is this essential to being a Christian? If so, why?
You’re not alone in your questions or your journey to discover the truth. In fact, we have a whole community of Christians on Ebible.com who are studying the Bible and engaging in conversations about difficult topics. The question of church attendance has come up a few times. Below, you’ll find a few of our most popular answers. Check out the original question here!
Answer from Frederick Bryant
I say that we must be obedient to the Word of God. The Scripture says, “Not forsaking the assembling of our selves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:25.”
We must worship God together as well as in our secret places. We must formulate the Body of Christ through our studying the word together. We need one another for we are the Body of Christ.
Answer from S. Michael Houdmann
The Bible tells us we need to attend church so we can worship God with other believers and be taught His Word for our spiritual growth. The early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). We should follow that example of devotion-and to the same things. Back then, they had no designated church building, but “every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:46). Wherever the meeting takes place, believers thrive on fellowship with other believers and the teaching of God’s Word.
Church attendance is not just a “good suggestion”; it is God’s will for believers. Hebrews 10:25 says we should “not [be] giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Even in the early church, some were falling into the bad habit of not meeting with other believers. The author of Hebrews says that’s not the way to go. We need the encouragement that church attendance affords. And the approach of the end times should prompt us to be even more devoted to going to church.
Church is the place where believers can love one another (1 John 4:12), encourage one another (Hebrews 3:13), “spur” one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24), serve one another (Galatians 5:13), instruct one another (Romans 15:14), honor one another (Romans 12:10), and be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32).
Answer from Billy P. Eldrid
A few years ago a young man was in my sales office and as we visited, I asked him if he was a Christian. He answered yes. I then asked him where he went to church. He replied that he did not go to church.
I told him, we’ll, you can be a Christian and not attend Church. He then said, “But it sure is easier if you do.”
A good church makes it so much easier to live a Christian life. Instruction, fellowship and discipline. Organized activities including benevolence and taking care of each have others needs like roofing the house of widows, etc. All should be a part of church life.
One of the biggest benefits of attending a good church is that others will pray for you on a regular basis. And the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Paul, more than once compared living a Christian life to running a race. Having a church to cheer you on helps you win that race.