Faith
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Do you have to GO to church to be a strong devoted Christian?

The last time I went to a church, it was in May and I was back on Maui with a friend. Since I left Hawaii, became a Florida resident and have been traveling for the last few months, I haven’t been to a church. I still do bible studies on my own and read devotionals every day, but I got to thinking the other day: Do you have to physically go to church to be a strong, devoted Christian? What constitutes a “strong Christian”? Is it the activity of going to church? Or is the stronghold of faith within your heart and the steady studying of the Word?

What is a ‘Christian’ anyway?

When I looked it up, the definition of “Christian” is:

 A person who has received Christian baptism, or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.

Nowhere in that definition does it say “A person who attends church.” To be a Christian means to essentially just be a follower of Christ, in whatever capacity that may be. If you are able to attend church, great. If not, that’s great too.

And if you give your heart to God, that’s all He wants. Isn’t that cool?

What do we have to do to be ‘good’ Christians?

There are tons and tons of verses that will all say something along these lines: All God wants is your heart, and being a true follower of Christ is all about what happens on the inside.

What does that mean, exactly? Well, it means that certain customs or traditions, appearances that we keep, or being an active member of a particular church are not the things that define what being a Christian is.

Keep in mind, God warns against keeping up with a certain “image,” and teaches that what’s most important is that our hearts are pure and true.

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)

So, if that’s all it takes, is it even necessary to go to church? As long as I have God’s Word that shows me the life that Jesus lived, I can follow Him on my own, right?

Following God on your own

Of course, you can be a strong Christian on your own. But remember that we were not created to be alone! When you go to church and feel the music, praise and worship Jesus with everyone around you, doesn’t your heart just explode? Isn’t that the greatest, most inexplainable feeling in the world? Going to church just feels good.

Here are some verses that prove we, as followers, need our brothers and sisters in faith:

We are not created to be alone. We were created to have fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7)

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18:20)

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

While there are no written rules in the Bible about attending church, a true follower will find that in their heart they do need to go to church. Sure, you can absorb all there is to absorb on your own with solo Bible studies and prayer and podcasts. In attending church, you can receive encouragement and fellowship from those who are also working toward strengthening their faith and building the body of Christ.


Do you attend a home church? If not, why? For me, I’m not currently attending a church because I’m traveling! I do solo bible studies, but I can’t wait to discover my new home church once I settle down in a place! 😊🙏🏼

Do you have to go to church to be a good christian

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6 Comments

  1. As I started reading I was thinking “oh no..” because of all the verses coming to mind (especially Hebrews 10 because I just memorized that one). Having completed the post, I think you did a fair job representing our need for the church. I would add one thing (I heard this said somewhere but I don’t remember where) that forsaking the assembly forsakes its gifts. And the gifts were given for all. what’s more, if god has given us the church for our encouragement and growth, we are robbing ourselves of that if we abandon it.
    Thanks for writing!

  2. Excellent point, Jasmine. The believers in the Book of Acts had fellowship one with another. Acts 2:42. And, in Hebrews we read “”And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not 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.” – Hebrews 10:24-25 Thanks, too, for your stopping by The Ruminant Scribe. I appreciated the Like, and I look forward to visiting more with you in the future.

  3. Might be beneficial to state the obvious. We don’t GO to church, we ARE the Church – all who are in Christ world wide. Wherever we roam or find ourselves. However, it is also very good for us to attend meeting together. I keep in mind we don’t belong to a club we joined, we chose to submit our life to His life – forever. I appreciate the subject of your post here!

  4. Being born again of incorruptible seed comes with a sure guarantee. Living in the age of grace is a wonderful thing and we are blessed; this could include not going to church, the promises are there in writing. Many of the mental images of what church is and should be seem stamped, like a Norman Rockwell painting set hard in the time of Joseph McCarthy and a time of forced conformity – what a church means today has not changed much since the 1950s. Given the rise of literacy over the past 100 years, a very short time in the 2000 years of Christianity, our ideas can and should be evolving; for example our own studies is a relatively new idea.
    I guess I could go on and on! Good article, thanks for writing!

  5. This was an interesting article. I do have just one critique of something you wrote, so I hope what I am providing here will be taken as constructive criticism. You stated the following in one part of your article:

    “While there are no written rules in the Bible about attending church, a true follower will find that in their heart they do need to go to church.”

    This is simply not true, and it can lead those who are new Christians to fall away from obeying what God’s Word teaches us about going to church. Here is what The Bible teaches us about church attendance:

    Hebrews 10:24-25

    24 – And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
    25 – not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting
    – – – one another, and so much the more as you see The Day approaching.

    It is clear that as Christians we all must attend church. However, church is not just a building as many people think today. The reason we have been using buildings for nearly 2,000 years is because church is to be a place of safety for people to hear what The Scriptures tell us. However, you stated that you travel a lot, so you are unable to go to church.

    This does not stop you from going to church at the places you travel to, and your travelling does not stop you from using services such as Skype, Facetime, teleconferencing, three-way/multi-way calling, and even group texting/messaging/SMSing with others to have church. Jesus Christ teaches us that where 2, or 3 are gathered in His Name there He is among them. That is the very definition of church according to The Scriptures.

    Jesus Christ taught us this for 2 reasons. 1st, He knew that Christians would be persecuted, tortured, and even executed, so that they would be unable to congregate in a building for church as we do today at least once a week, and often more for many churches. 2nd, He taught us not to despair when we are unable to go to church because we are physically detained such as being in the hospital for an illness.

    Finally, this is why Jesus Christ said that were 2, or 3 are gathered together in His Name that He is there among them. We can go to hospitals, nursing homes, and such places to have church with those who are unable to attend church physically. We can also go into jail/prison ministries to reach those who are not allowed to go to church while incarcerated. I know about this since I have been incarcerated in both state, and federal prisons in my past. If inmates are not on good behavior, then they are not allowed to attend church services at all, but they can have 2 ministers to come in to talk to them during this time. God bless you.

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