Why go to church? That’s a question I’ve asked a few different times in my life. For some background, I started going to church about a week after I was born. My parents were pastors. So, when I woke up one Sunday with a hankering to play some video games with friends after not missing for the previous—oh, I don’t know—13 years, I wondered aloud to my parents, “Why go to church?”
When I was in college, and I was working what seemed like every hour I wasn’t in class to be able to pay for class, and Sunday was my only day off, I started to think, Why go to church? When I was newly married with a toddler and a baby, and my wife and I never slept, I started eyeing my precious weekend mornings and asking, Why go to church? When some Christian churches and pastors started making really big and public mistakes, I asked, Why go to church?
Maybe there’s a reason you and I sometimes wonder why Christians go to church. Maybe church was never meant to be just another place to go. With that, here are 5 reasons not to go to church.
Fine print: I’m not telling anyone to cut ties with a local church that’s following Christ together. But, today is as good a day as any to stop just going to church and to start being the Church instead. I’ll explain.
Reason No. 1 to stop going to church: Your schedule is full. You’re raising kids, making friends, trying to figure out marriage, work, health, and finances. Who has time to go one more place?
Reason No. 1 to start being the Church: We’re living life to the fullest. When we gather, whether in large groups in our buildings or in small groups in our homes, we regularly apply God’s life-changing truth to raising kids, loving our neighbors, marriage, work, health, and finances. Our schedules are too full to just go to church. We don’t just have full lives—we’re living our lives to the fullest. That means when we gather and when we go out, we need to start living like church is not just a place we go, but the Church is who we are.
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Reason No. 2 to stop going to church: You go digital. Why go to church if you could just listen to a podcast or read something on your phone?
Reason No. 2 to start being the Church: The world is going digital. Now is not the time for the Church to abandon the web. Jesus went where people are, and the internet is where people are. To reach people no one is reaching, we’ll have to do things no one is doing. Through technology like the Church Online Platform, the Bible App, podcasts, and Bible-based content online, the local church can reach the world. We’re not doing this instead of getting together, the Church can reach people online because we get together.
Reason No. 3 to stop going to church: It gets weird. Churches have some weird people. They smile at you. They seem to want to get to know you. They give their money and time to help and serve at church and in their communities. Nobody can just be that nice, right? They might think differently from you, or they might even be really similar to you. It can be hard to tell, but weird people alone are a reason to stop just going to church.
Reason No. 3 to start being the Church: We’re all weird. Our church is weird because it’s made of people. And let’s be honest—we’re all weird in some way or another. That’s okay though, because last we checked, normal isn’t working very well for anyone. Like Jews and Gentiles in the early Church, the differences that make us weird might just be the reason we all fit together. Our church is going somewhere because we we’re all weird, broken, forgiven people with ridiculous faith who found God’s amazing grace. You know what else is weird? Just going to church without being a part of it.
Reason No. 4 to stop going to church: It’s a fight. People at church are always fighting things. Fighting addictions, fighting for marriages, fighting for neighborhoods, fighting despair, even fighting suicidal thoughts.
Reason No. 4 to start being the Church: We don’t fight alone. Life’s too much of a fight to just go to church. People in our churches don’t fight against emptiness, depression, addiction, suicide, anxiety, fear, food disorders, family issues, and marriage problems alone. We fight together with power. In our lobbies, in our LifeGroups, and when we huddle to serve, we find the people who’ll fight for us, and the Church becomes a family worth fighting for.
Reason No. 5 to stop going to church: Honestly, church is not some place you can just “go to.” Churches will at some point ask you to serve your community, help with kids, get to know other people, even help other people, welcome people, invite your friends, give, mentor someone, and tell others about Jesus.
Reason No. 5 to start being the Church: We don’t go to church—we are the Church, and we’re going somewhere. At Life.Church, we say, “We’re not spiritual consumers. We’re spiritual contributors. We are the Church and we exist for the world.”
Why start being the Church? Because God asked us to. Because believing God’s Word and not doing it is not a good combo. Because the world needs the Church: real people like you, who will follow Jesus into chat rooms, communities, jobs, family rooms, coffee shops, and yes, into church buildings.
Okay, are you ready to stop just going to church and start being the church? At Life.Church we love to host Open Door events to help people like you learn more about how to find a place to belong at Life.Church. Ask about the next Open Door at your physical location or at Life.Church Online. We’d love to see you there.
P.S. There’s a Bible Plan like this, full of Scriptures about God’s intention for church.