Before graduating high school, the youth pastor warned us that it would become easier to abandon the church and God altogether.
At the time, I dismissed the notion. But in the back of my mind, I knew it was a very real threat.
As I entered college life, I quickly realized something was different.
I had more freedom.
That’s when I heard one of the most dangerous phrases:
“You don’t need to go to church to have church.”
And I bought into it.
The facts were in front of me. I could pray, read my Bible, and watch sermons online from home.
It could finally say “no” to going to church altogether.
But as many people learned in 2020, it is incredibly dangerous to live life in isolation. It can be easy to eat junk, forget basic hygiene, and avoid people altogether. And slowly by surely, a relationship with God can go out the window.
That’s exactly what happened to me.
What I had missed was that the church was there to fulfill a basic need: community.
I needed people who would challenge me in my faith and surround me with love, wisdom, friendship.
Here’s what the Bible says about the importance of church:
- Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us that we should, “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.“
- Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.“
- 1 Corinthians 12:12-22 affirms, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.“
- James 5:16 commands us to, “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.“
- Proverbs 27:17 informs us that, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.“
I believe there will always be times during our faith journey where we question the need for church. But the Bible is very clear that we are not to do life alone. We need a community of Christians who can love, guide, and challenge us. Community is never perfect, but it is absolutely worth the investment.