In this article, I answered the question “do we need to go to church?” with a “no.” Biblically, we are not required to attend weekly services in order to be saved. Read more here.
BUT we ARE called to gather.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
I remember reading this Bible verse just after the first lockdowns in March 2020. And it struck me that what was happening was wrong. We aren’t called to assemble “except” or “less.” We are told to do it “more.”
Add in the Bible verse from James that call for the sick to be brought to the church for prayer and we were way off to close up churches. (James 5:14-15 Is there any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.)
Jesus himself never isolated himself from the ill or avoided those who called on Him. And if we are called to follow Him as our example, neither can we.
We are the body of Christ.
Even more importantly because Christians are the body of Christ. Romans 12:5 says, “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” The entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 12 discusses this concept more deeply.
We are all members with different gifts that are to be used for the edification of the church. As members of one body, we must work together. And this is nearly impossible when separated.
To continue the analogy of the body, when we have a stomach ache or a runny nose, we do not separate those parts of the body until well. Rather, we rest the whole body together or take medications that will heal the whole body. (This is why herbal medications are better than those chemically-created. The ingredients are not isolated to target one symptom, thus causing side effects. But more on this in a future post.)
So if our spiritual body is sick, if there is a lack of trust in God, or earthly fear is dominating its members, it is counterproductive to separate them. Rather, they must be treated as a whole. Encouraging and rebuking one another is what we are called to do to overcome our distrust or our fear. And this can only be done when we are together.
So what are some ways we can gather as Christians if we don’t have a church?
As I mentioned in this post, we are blessed with the ability in many places of meeting online. And sometimes this is the only way. In fact, this is the way my family has been living for the last 18 months. We have no churches that preach the way (as the early Christian church called themselves). What we have available to us are churches that fear man more than they fear God.
But even though I have been able to grow in faith exponentially since I’ve been forced to find my Christian community online, I must tell you that it is far from ideal. I long for the days when we as Christians could rely on each other both spiritually and physically.
And I can only pray that we (and all Christians) are able to find our way back to this. And soon. Especially as we find ourselves fast approaching the day of the Lord.
My advice is to first try to find a physical church home near you, if at all possible. However, even if you are not able, maybe try to create your own Bible group (no matter how small) to try to have fellowship. Or even just meet with fellow Christian families on a regular basis for meals, prayers, and singing.
Because it is important to try to follow the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:14, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” And you, in turn, can be warned, comforted, and supported when you need it.
But don’t be disheartened if you are living in a spiritual desert, like I am. Read Do We Need To Go To Church? No. to learn more about why we can still be strengthened if worshipping alone.