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Why Do You Go To Church?

Updated on June 16, 2013
©Ralph Williamson
©Ralph Williamson

Typical Reasons Given For Going to Church

I have spoken to quite a few people on this topic, and I have received just as many different answers to the question. Many have said that they attend a particular church, because their parents and grandparents and even their great grandparents attended the same church - it's a family church.

Others have said that their favorite church has wonderful music. A choir or even an orchestra perhaps. Some say they attend this or that church because it is just so lively (maybe they mean it keeps them awake?). I have seen churches that tend to focus more on the activities than they do on the Bible. I have seen churches that have "Hawaiian night," "sports night," even "dance night" and a myriad of other themed 'nights.' It's odd, however, that I have never seen a "Jesus night," or a "Bible night" in the same sense.

But I digress - some people have told me that they attend because the church is close to their home, or it has wonderful baby-sitting services. Others attend because their friends do, and it's a wonderful day of fellowship and an opportunity to 'catch-up' and socialize after a busy week at work.

Still, some will admit to only going to church twice a year, religiously even (pardon the pun) on Easter and Christmas. Although there is a growing number of people in this category, it still escapes me as to what they hope to accomplish or why they even bother going. Do they think that going to church is going to 'save' them? Do they not understanding that even going to church 7 days a week isn't going to save them? the only thing that saves is Jesus and we find Him in His Word - the bible.


What Is Church Really About?

Friends, the above mentioned reasons, in and of themselves, are not bad reasons for attending any church. In fact, on the surface, they sound quite reasonable and justified.

Nonetheless, taking a look at the bigger picture - the one that includes, Jesus, salvation and the Bible - it becomes quite clear that the aforementioned reasons begin to look somewhat more and more trivial.

What I mean is this, the whole 'church thing' should be about... well, the church! It should be about what goes on in the sanctuary more than what goes on in the foyer. It should be about what goes on in the pews, more than what goes on at potluck. More specifically, it should be about learning about Jesus, and the Bible. It should be about finding the Truth. Christian, it should be about 'your' personal relationship with Jesus. The blessings of such a relationship are paramount. And, what about salvation? What about redemption? How about justification, or sanctification for that matter? Do these not sound like important Bible matters that we should know about? One's sins can literally cost one his/her life, because if you don't have eternal life in Christ, then you have eternal death. Thus it becomes a matter of life or death in the most literal sense. Selah.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

The Only Reason to Attend Church

Friends, may I submit to you, that the only reason any serious Christian should go to church.... is for the 'message?' That is to say, what are they preaching? Are they talking about Jesus? Are they teaching how we can be better Christians for Christ? And while we're at it, what is the 'mission' of the church? What are the fruits of it's labors? ( Mat. 7:16).

Seriously folks, I know churches where very few, if any, of the members actually bring a Bible!! I know other churches, where the Bible is preached, but yet nothing is learned. So many denominations are content to have 'pew-warmers' who are Bible-illiterate. Yet Paul bids us to be "like the Bereans." In Acts 17:11, he emphatically advises that we not only receive "the word with all readiness of mind," but more importantly, that we should search "the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." He is telling us that we should not be satisfied being spoon-fed from the pulpit, but rather that we should take what we have heard and find it in the bible 'ourselves' to make sure that what the preacher is preaching is actually so.

If you have read a few of my Hubs, you can see why this is so important. There are so many doctrines being preached, very popular doctrines indeed, that just can not be found in the Bible. Eternal Hell, Secret Rapture, "once-saved, always-saved", and an immortal soul, just to name a few.

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

All the wrong reasons, to be sure!
All the wrong reasons, to be sure! | Source

The Conclusion of the Whole Matter

As previously stated, the reasons people give for going to church that I have mentioned above are all good reasons. They do indeed make sense. However, are any of them, or all of them together a viable trade-off for something as crucial as salvation? Considering that it could mean the difference between life and death, this should be worth an honest and sincere consideration. The things that are being preached from 'your' pulpit, by 'your' Pastor - can 'you' prove them out from the Bible?

Blessings and Love.

"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect," 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

Sincerely Seeking
Sincerely Seeking | Source

Your Reasons?

Are You Going to Church For The Right Reasons?

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    • Andy Ramjohn profile image

      Andy Ramjohn 4 years ago from Canada

      Hi Planks.. Once again I agree with you, for the most part. I myself am not into the 'mega' churches of today. I also do not believe that Joel Olsteen, John Haggie and the like are preaching truth. You are right in that an offering plate is not needed in order to receive the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. However, I do believe the the offering plate is required, mainly for the upkeep of the church, as well as any missionary work and other types of outreach services the church may / should be doing. The main thing is that not everyone has to give. One should give according to one's blessings.

      NT - Lk. 11:42, Mat.23:23, 2 Corinthians 9:7, Matthew 6:1-4, Acts 20:35, Luke 6:38, Luke 21:1-4 ,

      OT - Malachi 3:10 , Malachi 3:8

      Thanks again for your comments :)

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 4 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ

      I agree with you Andy. I would say good works is a product of grace. Grace is not a product of our works because it is not about what we do, but what He does. The good works of salvation is the power of Jesus Christ working in people so that His name is glorified. Unfortunately, the modern "church" has glorified man where pastors have attained celebrity status where they promote their own brand and wares of the "gospel" for a price. Jesus Christ freely gave of Himself to mankind. He does not require an offering plate to be passed around first before someone can recieve the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

    • Andy Ramjohn profile image

      Andy Ramjohn 4 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Planks (ha ha) ;) Very well played, but here is my take on it... First, I will use the Law as an example. I believe that one is not saved by the keeping of the law, they are not a means of salvation. They are, rather, a 'product' of your salvation. Once you know Jesus and you are 'saved' so to speak, then you will naturally be 'inclined' to keep the law. We know Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." A popular tenant of modern teaching is grace grace grace, not too many people will agree that obedience is required, at even the smallest level. Right from the beginning, with Adam and Eve, obedience was required. This is not to be confused with works, as this obedience would have been a product of their 'faith'. All through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, the base theme is about who you worship and who you obey. The story of the Israelites is perfect example of this. When they obeyed, they conquered, when they didn't, they got spanked. I believe the same thing goes for works. No amount of good 'deeds,' or works, will get one into heaven, however, if one is 'saved,' good works is the natural product of that salvation. Remember the Bible can not contradict itself, and thus James is actually agreeing with Rom. 4:2. I'm Sure you know that a text, out of context, is a pretext, so let's look at what James is saying in chapter 2.

      James chapter 2 has 26 verses: Verses 1-7 instruct us not to show favoritism. Verses 8- 13 are comments on the Law. Verses 14-26 are about the relationship between faith and works. So, we can focus on verses 14-26. Notice that James begins this section by using the example of someone who 'says' he has faith, verses 14. He then immediately gives an example of what true and false faiths are. He begins with the negative and demonstrates what an empty faith is (verses 15-17). Then he gives an example of the type of faith that isn't much different from the faith of demons (verse 19). Finally, he gives examples of living faith by showing Abraham and Rahab as the type of people who 'demonstrated' their faith by their deeds. You see, James is examining two kinds of faith: one that leads to godly works and one that does not. One is true, and the other is false. One is dead, the other alive; hence, "Faith without works is dead," (verse 20). And this is why in the middle of his section on faith and works, he says in verse 19, "You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder." James says this because the demons believe in God, that is, they have faith, but the faith they have is useless. It does not result in appropriate works. Their faith is only a mental acknowledgment of God's existence.

      Deeper still, two words are worth introducing here: ascentia and fiducia. Ascentia is the mental acknowledgment of something's existence. The demons acknowledge and believe (ascentia) that God exists. Fiducia is more than mental acknowledgment. It involves a trust in something, a giving over to it, a complete believing and acceptance of something. This is the kind of faith that a Christian has in Christ. A Christian, therefore, has fiducia; that is, he has real faith and trust in Christ, not simply an acknowledgment that He lived on earth at one time. It's like how there are many people in the world who believed that Jesus lived: ascentia. But they do not believe that He is their savior, the one to whom they should look and trust for the forgiveness of their sins. So then, ascentia does not lead to works. Fiducia does. Ascentia is not of the heart. Fiducia is.

      So in conclusion, James is simply saying that if you ‘say' you are a Christian, then there had better be some appropriate works manifested or your faith is false. This sentiment is echoed in 1 John 2:4 which says, "If you say you have come to know Him, yet you do not keep His commandments, then the truth is not in you and you are a liar." These verses beg the question, can the dead ‘faith' that someone has, which produces no change in a person and no good works before men and God, be a faith that justifies? Absolutely not. It is not merely enough to say you believe in Jesus. You must actually believe and trust in Him. If you actually do, then you will demonstrate that faith by a changed and godly life. If not, then your profession is of no more value than the same profession of demons: "We believe Jesus lived." Notice also that James actually quotes the same verse that Paul uses to support the teaching of justification by faith in Rom. 4:3. James 2:23 says, "and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘and Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.'" If James was trying to teach a contradictory doctrine of faith and works than the other New Testament writers, then he would not have used Abraham as an example.

      Therefore, we are justified by faith. That is, we are made righteous in the eyes of God by faith as is amply demonstrated by Romans. However, that faith, if it is true, will result in deeds appropriate to salvation. So then, I see your James 2:21 card with my James 2:20, and raise you with Eph. 2:8-10 "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." ;)

      Ha-ha - did I mention that I have a passion for speaking Bible? Thank-you for the opportunity. I'll look forward to your reply. Blessings!

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 4 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ


      I believe you are on to something.

      (" He is the supreme example in the Old Testament of faith.")

      For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. - Romans 4:2

      Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? - James 2:21

      Do you believe that Abraham was justified solely on faith alone, or was there some works involved too for salvation?

    • Andy Ramjohn profile image

      Andy Ramjohn 4 years ago from Canada

      Hi again PlansandNails - thanks for an excellent response. They do a great job of addressing my response to you. Again, thank-you. However, even though I again agree with a lot of what you have posted, we may have to agree to disagree on the smaller nuances. Mainly, although I agree that 99% of churches are... corrupt, ignorant of Biblical truth and some are just 'in it for the money,' as mentioned previously I just don't think that we should throw out the baby with the bath-water; there 'are' some sincere, knowledgeable, and true-to-the-Bible churches out there who 'are' not only teaching about Christ and His second coming, salvation and redemption, as well as doing incredible humanitarian services. Granted, because they are so few, we must choose wisely. I believe the bible tells us a lot about this church, & I think it is time I did a Hub about it. I have been holding back on that mainly because of the nature of it.

      One other note - you agree that God does not change, but yet you say we went from works to grace when we went from the OT to the NT. I on the other hand believe that the Bible can not contradict itself, if it says that God does not change - He must not change. In other words, I do believe that the OT was all about grace as well... Paul tells us so in Romans chapter 4. Abraham not only was an Old Testament character, but he was saved before the Law was given. He is the supreme example in the Old Testament of faith. And so he is the ideal example to use for salvation by faith as being the consistent norm, in fact the only way of salvation. Therefore, it is my proposal that the only thing that changed in the NT was the way of thinking - the Jews had come to believe that salvation was indeed by works and that is why Paul had to remind them of this error. This, of course, is also one of the reasons why Jesus came - to tell them that their ways were wrong, yet He did not do away with, nor contradict, the Torah or the Law.

      In any event - thanks again for an excellent reply! Blessing to you my friend.

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 4 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ


      I believe we are to meet and make it a priority to fellowship with other believers, but a permanent building to do so is not a requirement. Jesus went into the synagogues, but now we are His synagogue/temple. When Jesus died, the veil was torn, and God moved out of that place never again to dwell in a temple made with hands, but now dwells within His followers; we are the tabernacles of God.

      God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands - Acts 17:24

      Unfortunately, most meeting places called churches are corrupt in their nature and architecture with a purpose to promote the ideologies of man. Although many sincere people attend these fixtures, they are oblivious to the abomination that it has become.

      ("God does not change (Mal. 3:6) ")

      The character of God and His divine nature never changes, but the way He does things does. For example, circumcisions are physical in the OT, but spiritual in the NT; likewise, grace is not by works, but by faith. The new dispensation of grace was the fulfillment of His everlasting purposes that did away with the Mosaic rituals so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ would be introduced. We can see through Scripture that He changes how He works with people throughout history.

      God Bless

    • Andy Ramjohn profile image

      Andy Ramjohn 4 years ago from Canada

      Hello again PlanksandNails. Nice to meet you as well. First and foremost I want to thank-you for taking the time to post such a lengthy and well thought out reply. I have to say that I probably agree with 99% of what you have posted. You are correct about the traditions of man, and today's church versus that of the time of Christ. I certainly agree that there are far too many pew-warmers in the modern church, and most people are not there for the right reasons. Again, I agree with your comment about the 'worship' service being one hour, as the Sabbath day is exactly that - a 'day.' A literal 24 hour day. most people today will take in the two hours of church, spend an hour socializing (not exhorting) and then off for coffee at the local Applebee's. You have posted an excellent commentary indeed! I do however (of course) have the one objection. You are correct that no one was 'commanded' to attend a church building in the NT, but it is my opinion that this is because the command was not required. That is to say, they were already doing it. We can see this by the references to various 'churches' in the Bible (1 Cor. 16:9, Col. 4:15, Acts 20:20 and so on). Again, I have to mention that the bible tells us that it was Jesus' custom (Lk. 4:16) If Jesus made it a priority to meet together with other believers, shouldn't we, as his followers, do so also? Acts 17:2 says the same thing about Paul - it was his custom. Acts 13:42 shows that even the Gentiles wanted Paul and Barnabus to return the following Sabbath so they could hear the word. I understand your reference to Acts 7:48, but how does that fit with Exodus 25:8 and 1 Chron. 22:19? Remember, God does not change (Mal. 3:6) The OT is the NT concealed, and the NT is the OT revealed.

      Don't get me wrong - I agree with you that what is taking place in most of the churches is not the seeking of the truth that it should be. But, if we do decide to go to church, we do not have to follow the rest blindly. I mean, we 'can' go to find the truth. To 'hear' the word. To worship and to study the word and learn of Jesus. Not all are able to just pick up a bible and read and understand. If we have questions, sometimes we 'have' to go to the paid clergy of the church (if we do not know how to look it up and find the answers ourselves). Of course, the worst thing we could do is to try to imitate the external behavior of the New Testament church without going through the internal changes, led by the Spirit. I believe this is what has happened to the modern church. 'True' fellowship requires at least: repentance, light, judgment (discernment), protection, good stewardship, the grace gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit, and real love. All this is possible, but only "in Christ".

      All in all, I agree with a lot of what you have said, and it is indeed unfortunate what the church has become.

      Thanks again for your time PlanksandNails - looking forward to hearing more from you soon! Blessings to ya!

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 4 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ


      Wow, so many questions. First of all it is a pleasure to meet you and engage in a subject that I am passionate about. I believe Scripture when it is rightly divided will change the way the way many think of "church" to what the true and genuine Church is. The traditions of man have been so ingrained that many have become too emotionally attached them.

      Yes,the famous Hebrews 10:25 verse,

      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.

      Most people know the first half of the verse, but what about the second half of it?

      I think we can agree that there are no examples of the followers of Jesus Christ who are commanded to attend a “church” building to worship God. The true Church (people) should understand that worship is a lifestyle of obedience to God in every aspect of their lives.

      Is “worship” one hour of a person’s time in a temple made with man’s hands?

      It is time for the masses to wake up and understand that the Spirit of God dwells within us.

      Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands – Acts 7:48

      From these two verses it seems that we may have a moral obligation to attend “church,” but it also says that God does not dwell in temples made with man’s hands. Additionally, there is the obligation to exhort one another too. Do most people know what that looks like?

      If we properly apply these verses, does it look like what goes on in the modern “church” today that the bulk of the masses attend? Are we truly exhorting one another by sitting passively in a pew listening to the polished sophistry of the salaried priest class? I thought Scripture says that every believer is a priest and that the restriction to just the ordained has been done away.

      Where in the NT is the requirement to engage in a man-made program with credentialed orators? Do the people really know what exhortation, community, and accountability to one another mean?

      This stuff is foreign to the modern “church.” What is pounded into their heads is their obligation to tithe. They look at you with an empty look on their faces when you tell them that tithing was part of the ceremonial Law. If you believe that you are obligated to tithe, then why are they not following all the other ceremonial commands too? Did God say that we can just pick and choose from both the OT and NT to whatever suits us?

      The true ecclesia is not about rituals, but service. It is not about worship in a man-made building, but about worship everywhere and anywhere you go. Exhortation is not listening to a monologue that a person is paid to spew from a man-made altar, but is a dialogue among the functioning brothers and sisters in Christ. How can you fellowship in a pew under the pompous pulpit peacocks.

      Communion is the modern “church” is done in militant ritualistic fashion with a view of the back of everyone’s head. I thought Communion according to Scripture was face-to-face fellowship.

      The problem with Hebrews 10:25 is that it is read through the lens of the traditions of man. The OT was about the observance of ceremonial rituals, but the NT speaks of a new form of worship that is in spirit and truth. Worship is not about the requirements of the old covenant. Worship and obedience is about every area of our lives, not about what goes on an expensive centralized piece of real estate.

      The pressure to attend a man-made “church” is the same as the OT need to go to Jerusalem. The ecclesia is always dynamic and moving that can easily move from house to house, street to street, building to building as the Holy Spirit leads. In the modern “church” you are stuck. The Gospel is not about the dominion in the man-made temple, but about dominion over the entire earth.

      The ecclesia’s special place of worship is everywhere in every place with as little as two or more. It is not where we gather, but how we are to gather. Big difference.

      Is God a localized God?

      Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? – Acts 7:49

      So, what do I do with Hebrews 10:25? I discard the institutionalized lens when reading the verse. What happens from there is a domino effect where Scripture dismantles the building that is hewn with man’s hands, kicks to the curb the credentialed salaried seminary graduate and the isolation of God’s people to a piece of real estate.

    • Andy Ramjohn profile image

      Andy Ramjohn 4 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for the reply, getitrite. I do not fully understand your reasoning, however. I myself was witness to the "fire & brimstone" preaching of yester-year and can sympathize with you. However, I do not believe the doctrine of an "eternally burning" hell. I have not found this to be biblical. Nonetheless, we should be careful not to throw out the baby with the bath-water ;) The eternally burning hellfire was more of a misinterpretation of the Bible, than a man made doctrine, and in no way negates the fidelity of the Bible. Thanks for reading and posting.

    • getitrite profile image

      getitrite 4 years ago

      I haven't been to church services in decades. Since I now see that hell is just childish, man-made nonsense, invented to control people by blind fear, I no longer need religion. Therefore, I have no reason to go to church, or believe any of the primitive myths in holy books. Church only gave me false hope via wishful thinking.

    • Andy Ramjohn profile image

      Andy Ramjohn 4 years ago from Canada

      Hi getitright. Thanks for your input. How long ago was it when you went to church? Do you now see any other reason to go? Thanks for reading and commenting. God bless.

    • getitrite profile image

      getitrite 4 years ago

      I went to church because I was afraid of going to hell. What more compelling reason would someone bother to go to such places?

    • Andy Ramjohn profile image

      Andy Ramjohn 4 years ago from Canada

      PlanksandNails, the comments capsule didn't fully update my previous comment. I was curious as to what do you do with Heb 10:25? Also, you ask where it is mentioned in the NT, but I'm sure you know that it isn't. However, we do know that they met and read and discussed the word of God. We know that Jesus at a young age went in to inquire but ended up teaching them. We know later in His ministry that He stood up to read beofre them and it was His own messianic prophecy. Also, the Bible tells us that "it was His custom" and He is after all our example on how we should live our lives.

      Looking forward to your reply. Again, God bless.

    • Andy Ramjohn profile image

      Andy Ramjohn 4 years ago from Canada

      Hi PlanksandNails. Thanks for your input. I agree with what you have said about us being the temple of the Holy Spirit and that it is time to stop being passive mute pew warmers. In fact I agree with most of your comment. You said that you utilize the gift God has given you to further the gospel. That is good to hear. How are you doing this? Are you knocking on doors? Are you a street preacher? Please do share as this may inspire others. Also, how are you studying the word? Do you obtain help in your studies? Do you have friends that help with questions? How did you hear or learn about the gospel? Please do share.

      I like your answer and thank you for taking the time to comment. 1 question though - how to you handle Heb. 10:25? Also, what about the teaching that we, collectively make up the body of Christ. We are told that it has many members and none are less important than others. Again, thank you for an excellent respons to the Hub. I look forward to you further comments. God bless.

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 4 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ


      There is the modern "church" that is a building, and the genuine Church who are people that follow the leading of Jesus Christ. How can you go to "church" if you are the Church. We are temples of the Holy Spirit, not man-made buildings. We are living stones, not something that is made of brick and mortar. Where in the NT does it say to erect a building and invite the lost to go into it? We are called out. It is time to stop being passive mute pew warmers and function as the ekklesia that God intended.

      Spending time in the Word of God is more important than your social status in the building. Being born again is more important than becoming a member.

      There is a huge difference between attending church vs the church attending; just like going into vs. going out to.

      So to answer you question, "Why do you go to church?"

      I don't go to church. I am the temple of the Holy Spirit along with my other brothers and sisters in Christ. I don't go into a building because I am called out to utilize the gifting God has given me to further the Gospel. I am not a member who is lorded over in a hierarchical system by a salaried clergy member in the "church" building, but grafted into the vine that is Jesus Christ who is the head of the genuine Church.

    • Andy Ramjohn profile image

      Andy Ramjohn 4 years ago from Canada

      Hi soconfident :) thanks for reading and thank-you for taking the time to comment. Sadly enough, you are quite right that many today go only when they need something. Interesting that this is also reflected in the prayer life of many alleged Christians as well - they only pray when they need help, not to actually thank and acknowledge God for His goodness, let alone to actually wait and 'listen' for His reply...

      Thanks for your comment soconfident.

    • soconfident profile image

      Derrick Bennett 4 years ago

      Great hub it really got me thinking why I use to go to church. Some people go every now and then only when they need something.


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