Are there benefits of going to church? With so many other things you can do with your weekend, why should you choose to get dressed up, drive (or walk) to spend a few hours in a place that calls itself a house of God?
Reasons Not to Go to Church
Before we talk about the reasons you should go to church, let’s talk about some of the reasons people don’t go to church. I grew up in a society where people went to church on Saturdays or Sundays. That’s just what you did. In some cases, parents or caretakers would send their children to church even if they did not attend because that’s just how it was.
Maybe you grew up in a similar environment. But when there are so many other things you can do with your weekend, how should you choose to spend it?
Long before the coronavirus locked us in our homes and kept us away from our church family, people have had oodles of reasons not to go to church. Here are some of the more commons reasons (excuses you may have used a time or two…I know I’m guilty of some of them):
- Too busy
- Too tired
- The weather is too bad to go out in
- Don’t like the speaker
- Don’t see the point of going
- I have to work
- I can listen to a sermon online
- I can study the Bible by myself (or with the use of online aids)
- Church is boring
- I’ve been hurt too many times by members of the church
- I don’t agree with or support the leadership
- I’m not comfortable there
- I don’t feel my needs are being met.
Excuse me, let me preach to myself for a bit, the church is not about you. It’s about God. It’s about loving and serving the people God loves and serves. I get it, I really do, some of your reasons for not going to church are valid but let’s focus instead on some of the benefits of going to church.
Why Going to Church is Good for You
Regular church attendance provides physical, spiritual, and emotional benefits. Studies have shown that people who believe in God have healthier lives. I believe that’s because we were created for worship (Isaiah 41:21). But here are some more reasons why you should go to church.
1. Reduces stress: attending church regularly has mental health benefits. You will have less anxiety, worries, and fears. It’s not that people who attend church don’t suffer from these things, it’s that when we learn to focus on the reason we attend church (to stand in the presence of God) we have hope.
2. Companionship: there are a lot of people in the church. If you attend regularly, you will make friends, find godly mentors, and other like-minded people to be with.
3. Corporate worship: while salvation is individual, worship is communal. We benefit from worshipping with others. God put us in community because He knows that it is the best way to increase our faith.
4. Opportunities to use your gift: being a part of the church gives us opportunities to use our gifts. In fact, when we become members of the church, God gives each of us a spiritual gift (1 Peter 4:10). Your local congregation needs the gift God has given you (1 Corinthians 12:7).
5. A chance to introduce children to God: The church is a great way to introduce children to the love of God. Many people think children don’t understand what is being taught in church, but I have seen children with faith lead members of their family to Christ. Jesus told us we need to become like little children (Matthew 18:3). Don’t deprive your children of the chance to fellowship with the family of God.
6. For encouragement: Let’s face it, at some time in your Christian journey you’re going to feel like giving up. If you say this to someone who is in the world, they may encourage you to walk away from God because a lot of times, Christianity doesn’t make sense–at least, not in a way the world can understand. But spending time regularly with your brethren will remind you that the trials of this life are but for a short time (2 Corinthians 4:17).
7. As a springboard for leadership: The church is a great place to learn leadership skills and to practice what you’re learning among a forgiving body. Most congregations allow you to participate in service which allows you to develop skills like oration, organization, and public speaking.
8. Gives opportunities to serve your community: Service is one of the tenets of the church. We are called to be witnesses of Christ and that includes helping those around us. The church allows us to be in a community serving our community.
9. Teaches you how to love: One of the greatest benefits of going to church is to learn how to love others. I’ve often heard it said that the church is filled with hypocrites (I’m guilty of having said that as well), but if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll realize the church has always had problems. All of us are sinful, broken people and so we will do and say things that don’t really represent who we are.
If we are to be like Christ, we have to spend time with the people He spent time with. We have to love the people He loves. And in learning to love them, we learn how God loves us.
10. Access to resources you may not have had otherwise: I know a number of persons who claimed that they were not able to read until they started attending a church. There are others who were able to access scholarships to fund their education, people have gotten resources to open businesses, others have been coached and mentored into being better versions of themselves.
11. Introduces people to their Savior: let’s not forget the most incredible benefit of going to church–Jesus. The church teaches people about God. Through the programs of the church, we learn to study our Bibles and pray. We also learn more about our Heavenly Father. We become a part of the living, breathing body of Christ.
What the Bible says about going to church
One of the most important reasons we should not only attend church regularly but remain an active part of the body is because it honors God. Even Jesus, the Son of God, regularly attended church. He did this because it honored His Father and because He wanted to go where God’s people were assembled.
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read(Luke 4:16 ESV).
Christ used His gifts in the church and did so in ways that gave honor and glory to His Father. Since Jesus is our example, we should act in a similar manner.
On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered (Luke 6:6 ESV).
Paul called the church the “household of God” and also the “body of Christ”. Since Jesus aligns Himself so closely to the church shouldn’t we also do the same?
I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth (1 Timothy 3:14-15 ESV).
And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent (Colossians 1:18 ESV).
The author of Hebrews encouraged the believers of that time to remain in community. I like to think he understood how tempting it would be to want to walk away from the church, and so he gave us these words:
And let us 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 (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV).
About Why Would Anyone Go to Church?: A Young Community’s Quest to Reclaim Church for Good
There are plenty of reasons to criticize, judge, and even walk away from the church. Many of us have been hurt and rejected. We may see the church as insular and irrelevant. Despite this, Kevin Makins believes that the church still matters–perhaps more than ever.
When Kevin was 23 and didn’t know any better, he started a congregation with some friends who were on the edge of faith. Together they hoped to discover if the church was worth fighting for. In this brutally honest account, he shares their story of becoming a community of misfits, outcasts, and oddballs who would learn that, even with all its faults, the church is worth being a part of . . . and must be reclaimed for good.
If you’ve been burned or burned out by the church, if you’ve been silenced or misunderstood, if you’ve left or never even joined in the first place, this candid, hopeful book is your invitation to consider what you miss out on when you give up on church–and what the church misses out on when it gives up on you.
My Review of Why Would Anyone Go to Church?
I picked up this book because I was intrigued by the title. As someone who sometimes struggles to be a part of the church, I’m always on the lookout for books that remind me of the reason for being a part of the body of Christ. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jesus but as an introvert, I sometimes find the act of interacting with other people challenging.
I really wanted to know what we miss out on when we give up on the church or even what the church misses out on when it gives up on us. This book is not that. Why Would Anyone Go to Church is the story of the Eucharist Church that was founded in downtown Hamilton, Ontario. It’s a story of the first six years of the church and one congregation’s experience. While this book held an intriguing story and was well-written and easy to read, it did not live up to its promise and I’m left struggling with how to rate this book and what to say about it.
Let me say this: if you are on the verge of walking away from the church or are not sure where you fit in, the story of the Eucharist Church may give you hope that there is a congregation out there for you. It may give you the desire to seek out a like-minded set of believers and who knows you may remember why the church is necessary for the believer.
Pastor Kevin was upfront about his struggles to plant a church and some of the successes and failures of his congregation. His honesty encourages you to be honest about what you need from your church body. He also reminds you that no two congregations have to be the same. Enjoy the differences in your congregation. Choose to be a part of the body of Christ knowing that you have a unique role to play.
Know God–each of us is called into a personal relationship with God. If we are going to become a part of the family of God we need to spend some time getting to know Him.
Know yourself–just as we each have varied spiritual gifts, we have varying needs from the body of Christ. When you avoid joining a church, you rob that local congregation of your gifts and fail to fulfill the task that God has given you to do.
Run your race–Pastor Kevin reminds us that the path set before us may not look like it does for anyone else. We have to find our own way. That may mean that others don’t understand what we’re doing but if God has called us to it, we should be faithful. I received an advanced reader’s copy as part of the Baker Bloggers program; a positive review was not required.
About Kevin Makins
Are There Benefits of Going to Church?
Pastor Makins asked why would anyone go to church? His question is valid. With so many things competing for your time and attention, you have to make the decision as to what you will focus on. Even more importantly, you will have to decide if going to church benefits you and your family.
I know it sometimes seems as if the church is an antiquated system that has played its part and should be abolished, but I can assure you, it is not. It’s a place where we can learn to see others as God sees them. We learn to appreciate and truly be grateful for the love God bestowed on us knowing that He loves us.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8 NKJV).