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Do I Have to Go to Church to Be a Christian?

By Michael Lane, Executive Director, Delve Christian Ministries

Article Summary
Going to Church is the effect, not the cause, of becoming a Christian. Every believer should want to go every Sunday, for that is a very special time of worship and fellowship. If you dread going, it might be the wrong church for you, or something may be wrong in your relationship with Jesus.
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Like so many other areas of Christianity, people often confuse the cause and effect. In an article about people who reject Christianity, we discussed how giving up a sinful life is the effect, not the cause, of being a believer in Christ. You do not become a Christian by changing your life, rather, you change your life once you become a Christian. You don't do it because you have to, you do it because you love Christ and want to live for Him.

The very same thing is true of attending Church. You can't become a Christian by going to church and it's not a prerequisite. There is no rule anywhere that says you have to go. However, once you give your life to Christ and become a Christian, you should very much want to go to Church.

Going to Church accomplishes many important things. First and foremost, it's a special opportunity to spend time with God in worship and praise, which is something that every believer should rejoice in doing. Second, it's a chance to learn more about God from the readings and the sermon. Finally, it's a time of fellowship with other believers, which permits us to all grow together as a community.

All of these are important, powerful reasons and every Christian should be excited about going to Church. If you're not excited or actually dread the thought of attending, then something is wrong. The problem might be with the church, or it might be with you.

An important part of the service is the music. If you prefer contemporary music and your church favors the hymns, you might have difficulty using that time to feel close to God. On the other hand, if you feel moved by the old hymns, you might really find the drums and electric guitar a distracting nuisance. Music is a personal choice, and it's important to find a church that shares your tastes otherwise it will be difficult to feel connected. God created all music and so long as it glorifies Him, He doesn't care if it's hymns or rock and roll, so long as it bring you closer to Him.

Another important part of the service is the sermon, and this can be a matter of personal preference as well. Some may prefer a pastor who is emotionally engaging, loud, passionate and challenging. Others may prefer a sermon that is more conservative and intellectually engaging.

Last but not least, you need to find a church community where you can feel welcome and loved. Nothing can replace the amazing feeling of walking through the door Sunday morning and being warmly greeted like family. That kind of relationship requires work and reciprocation. You need to get out there, meet people and open up your heart. Once you find that kind of Church family, you will never want to miss a Sunday.

If you've sampled a variety of musical styles, pastoral approaches and different communities and still feel like Sunday service is a drag, then something might be wrong in your relationship with Jesus. Spend some time with Jesus in prayer and reading His word. Ask Jesus to light the fire of passion in you and you will soon find that you can't wait to go to the church on Sunday morning.



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