Growing up, I disliked going to church. I was sort of a tomboy so dressing up was not always that fun. Besides, church was boring. The entire service was predictable. It was dictated and guided by a manual that only changed on Holidays and days that were deemed “Holy”. I also never understood why I had to look nice for God. If he was the one who created me in the first place, then why was I was trying to impress Him when he already knew what I looked like?
As a kid, church was a requirement unless you were deathly ill. It didn’t make sense to me why that was the unwritten rule. I constantly questioned to myself why exactly did I have to go to church? I believed that God created everything, so naturally it made sense that God should be able to meet me anywhere and not just in a designated building. However, my family’s religion directed the requirements to make it into heaven; complete steps a, b, c, d, etc, and never miss church.
God did not design church to be some religious sequence to stair step your way into heaven. On the contrary, God’s definition of church is so simple. He calls His people to be in communion, one accord, with a changed heart of gladness that praises Him.
When God pulled Peter aside and requested him to become the leader of the church, he didn’t say,
“Hey Peter. I need you to keep track of who comes to my building and who doesn’t.”
Instead, he told the apostles to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon those who were gathered in the upper room infusing them with unlimited power from the Holy Spirit if they were willing to accept the gift. Those who chose to accept, continued to meet “daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2: 46-47)
Take a look at the last part of this verse: “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47) Notice that the church grew, not the structure, but the people who surrendered their hearts to accept what Jesus had done.
So if we don’t need a church to meet in, then why do we have so many buildings designated to religious causes? One simple word; Fellowship. We need each other.
Notice what the disciples did first before sharing the good news; “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple,” (Acts 2:45) They gathered together in one location to commune with one another. They needed time to encourage and lift one another up before heading into the darkened areas of the world.
If you are struggling with the idea of attending a church because you believe you will be judged or maybe be seen as not good enough, none of that matters to God. He wants to meet you right where you are no matter how messy. A church that is seeking the heart of God will not judge you by your appearance, but will be willing to walk alongside your transforming heart.
What experiences have you had that keep you from attending church or getting to know Jesus as your savior?