Can You Call Yourself a Christian and NOT go to Church?
This was the loaded question asked by Pastor Scott at the start of his new series titled “Breaking Free of Relationship Killers“.
This will be the first post of what I hope to be an ongoing series of my response and reflections to weekly church sermons. I’ve actually been collecting my notes for months now, so I’ll do my best to publish in the order each series was presented.
Now, on to the topic at hand. The connection between church and Christian relationships.
Pastor Scott didn’t come right out and answer the question above. He does a pretty good job of allowing us to come to our own conclusions. But he did point out a few key points we need to consider before answering for ourselves.
- Our Salvation depends on Jesus alone.
- Yet, God’s Word suggests gathering with unbelievers on a regular basis is necessary for our growth process.
- Going to church doesn’t earn favor or points with God. It’s my choice, so why would I go?
At this point, my own thoughts took over and I started jotting down my answer to the third point.
Why Have I Attended Church on a Weekly Basis for over 15 Years?
To be clear, I DON’T go to church to earn points with God, the Pastor, or anyone else. And I DON’T go to church because it will get me into Heaven one day. Going to church has been 100% my own choice ever since I first began to attend church nearly 20 years ago.
But I DO go to church for:
- A spirit check. In any given week, I struggle on many levels. Going to church gives me a time of reflection and refreshment. It’s a place where I can bring it all to God in a corporate setting—a completely different experience than my times of prayer and worship at home.
- A time to bring my struggles before others. Whether I kneel at the altar in my own silence, or seek out the prayers of others, both acts remind me of what I know to be true about my relationship with God when the world so often conflicts with that truth.
- Spiritual, mental, and physical cleansing. My true identity is washed clean. Going without church can feel like going without a shower. The grime of the world collects quickly and I’ve found the best washing comes from worship time among believers and an open heart to receive the message God has for me that week.
- Encouragement from other believers. There is no other place on earth where I am lifted up and encouraged like I am in the House of God. Other believers “get me” like nobody else can. Those who don’t believe or choose not to attend church on a regular basis can have difficulty understanding spiritual things. When I need spiritual insight, I know I will get it from other faithful believers.
- Setting an example for my children. They see me through the week. They see my imperfections and my struggles, yet they see me continue to seek God again and again. They see me pick myself up on the worst days and take my worries to the altar of the Lord. Even if they don’t understand it now, I hope that I am demonstrating my unwavering faith in God’s grace and mercy and that above all else—He sees the heart, my heart, even when my actions don’t match up.
- To make a connection with others also struggling and remind them of God’s unconditional love. When I know I’m not alone in my struggle, I become stronger.
“Struggle it through to the God standard, even when our faith is messy … we all have flaws, we don’t need to hide them from each other. But we can love each other genuinely despite our flaws.” – Pastor Scott Flanagan
In the fellowship of true believers, we don’t need to have answers and solutions to our flaws and challenges. Together we can bring our flaws to the Lord and seek Him to guide us toward either an answer, for peace during the struggle, and/or peace beyond understanding when the answers don’t come right away.
10 Benefits to Not Journeying Alone
- Together I am INCLUDED
- Together I am STRONGER
- Together I am GENUINE
- Together I am HOPEFUL
- Together I am DETERMINED
- Together I am DISCIPLINED
- Together I am ENCOURAGED
- Together I am FOCUSED
- Together I am CHALLENGED
- Together I am VICTORIOUS
The Pastor Inspired message for this post can be found at Harvest Community Church Sermons Page, Part 1 of Breaking Free of Relationship Killers. Message by Pastor Scott Flanagan.