What do you put on a form if it asks for your religion? Many people will respond “Christian” even if they very rarely, if ever, attend church services.
So, is it possible to be a Christian and not attend church? The answer to that is definitely yes. Being a Christian is about a personal relationship with God through his Son, Jesus Christ. We enter that relationship by turning away from all we know to be wrong and by believing and trusting in Jesus’ death for the forgiveness of all that is past. The relationship is sustained by the Holy Spirit coming to live within us. The relationship is evidenced by the transformation of our lives. Anyone who has that living relationship with God is a Christian, whether or not they attend church.
Indeed, attending church does not automatically make us a Christian. It is possible to attend church and “go through the motions” without ever entering into a personal relationship with God. So, why bother with church?
Firstly, because it is hard to continue in our faith on our own. We often need the encouragement of others to help us as we seek to follow the teaching of Jesus and to trust in him for our forgiveness. Some people have little choice due to health or other circumstances and have to face their Christian life without the encouragement of others in church – but this is not what God intends as the best for most of us.
Secondly, because as we seek to follow Jesus we will want to help and encourage others. Jesus teaches us to put the needs of others before ourselves. He gives each of us something of himself that he wants us to share with others. We may feel that we have nothing to give – but often just by being ourselves in the company of others we can encourage and help them more than we realise.
Thirdly, if you are not sure that you have a personal relationship with God, then church offers an opportunity to find out more about him and how to get to know him better. You would be welcome any Sunday to come and find out more.