Do I Need to go to church?
"And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near" (Heb. 10:24-25).
This verse is often given as a proof text requiring Christians to attend weekly meetings at a "church." Churches, in this day and age, are usually referred to as buildings erected for the sole purposes of worshipping God and preaching His Word. However, the word "church" is taken from the Greek word ekklesia, which means "a gathering of God's People", the collective body of believers, congregation, assembly, and the body of Christ. Hence, the Church is not an organization; it is an organism. It's a living group of people with a "togetherness: of mind about who Jesus is.
Therefore, one really never goes to church; one goes to be with the Church, or a group of believers. There really is no such thing as a lone Christian who is left to himself. Proverbs 27:17 clearly states, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Hebrews 3:13, "Encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called 'today,' so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." Clearly, we need each other to keep us going. If we separate ourselves from other believers who have the same basic beliefs as we do, how long will it be before you start conforming to the world around you?
Many many people have made a mess of their lives by withdrawing from meeting with other Christians. Don’t let your hurt from past church experiences, nor your dislike of the practices of some churches put you off. Find a church where God’s Word is preached simply and clearly, where you are able to connect with God in worship and prayer. Find a church where you can love and be loved. No church is perfect, but, unless you are on a desert island or in a very remote area, there will be a church near you that can help you remain faithful to Jesus. And there will be some people there who would benefit from your encouragement of them too.
Every believer is like a burning ember which has been ignited by the love and power of Jesus Christ. When gathered together those embers are stirred up by the presence of God and His Word. Don’t let your enemy, Satan, draw you away from the gathering of those embers, so that slowly but surely you go out, losing both light and heat.