Is Attending Church Regularly Necessary?

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Chris Genetti is pastor at Living Waters Tabernacle of Exeter.

Is it necessary for Christians to attend church services regularly? Christianity in the U.S. is at an all-time low. Recent polling reveals 63% of Americans identified as Christian. But, shockingly, only 27% attend church services regularly. Christianity on a whole is declining by 11% per decade. I recently came across a video of a young man purporting that attending church is not necessary. He claimed, “Jesus did not start a church. His fan club did.” He also asserted that, “Just being a good person will get you to Heaven.” However, the fundamental teaching of Christianity is that we accept Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as our Lord and Savior. Only through faith in Him will we be reconciled to God. We also believe that faith without works is dead, meaning that when we are saved there is a stirring of our spirit to perform good acts of service. So can we hold these tenants of faith and not belong to a particular church? To find the answer we must turn to the scriptures.

The church is often referred to as the “Body of Christ.” It wasn’t Jesus’ “fan club” or even his Apostles that created the Church out of thin air. Jesus said, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” He commissioned all believers to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded.” The Apostle Paul, in describing all believers, said, “Though many, they are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.”

If we are one body, how does that body communicate? How does that body support it’s appendages? It does so through fellowship. If you were trying to get back into physical shape, you might try membership at a gym. The membership alone does not get you into shape. After joining a gym, you will have access to a personal trainer and equipment. The personal trainer can advise you on how to lose weight and build muscle. They can instruct you on how to use the equipment. But this on its own will not get you into shape. Hopefully you are motivated to take full advantage of everything your membership offers. Becoming a church member is much the same. Attending regular services has many benefits. We grow together through receiving the Word of God. We learn how to worship by singing hymns. We support each other through prayer and fellowship. Paul put it this way, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.”

I would like to encourage you all to seek membership in a healthy Bible-based church. The very first Sunday service was over 2,000 years ago on the day of Pentecost. The Bible records that men from every nation and tongue were present to hear Peter’s sermon. How amazing that the kingdom of heaven has been opened to every man, woman, and child, of every race and nation! Our church membership should reflect the same. Considering today’s present political climate, prejudices, and divisions, it feels like a solution may be to fill the churches and exercise Jesus’ teachings.

Gilbert K. Chesterton once said, “The trouble with Christianity is not that it has failed, but that it has never been tried.” The Bible says, “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). That coming day of Christ’s return and judgment is drawing near. Is it biblical that we attend regular church services? Yes. Will a healthy church help lead you to salvation? Yes! However, just like a gym membership, it requires your participation to get into shape.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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