You’re a new believer and you’ve been wondering if you should go to church. Maybe you’ve never been to church or maybe the thought of walking through the doors of a church is daunting. Understandably so.
You might have one or more of the following questions:
- What does the Bible say about going to church?
- Do I have to go to church to be saved?
- What are the benefits of going to church?
We’ll be exploring these questions as well as the benefits of going to church.
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What does the Bible say?
Does the Bible even talk about going to church? At first glance, you might not think so.
However, there are a few passages that speak of meeting together as believers.
“And let us consider how 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).
This passage tells us not to neglect meeting together. That’s what church is — the act of meeting together. As Christians, we’re meeting together on a weekly basis to encourage and lift each other up in the faith.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him — a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 ESV).
This passage isn’t necessarily about church. However, I do find it relevant to the topic. Doing the Christian faith alone is hard. You need other like-minded believers to help you on your journey. What better way to find these believers than going to church?
The meaning of church in the Bible
The word “church” in the Bible comes from the Greek word “ekklesia”.
Ekklesia is used to refer to an assembly, congregation, or called out people.
There’s a saying I’ve heard many Christians say:
“It’s about the people — not about the steeple!”
It’s true. The word ekklesia is referring more to the people than it is to the building we attend.
So, the building isn’t important, it’s about the people. We don’t go to church per se, we are the church. Each believer makes up the church. We are a collective whole.
Do I have to go to church to be saved?
No, you don’t have to go to church to be saved. Our salvation isn’t based on what we do. Good works will not save us. What saves us is trusting and believing in Jesus.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to church. The church is there to encourage and motivate us in our walk of faith. There are many benefits to attending a local congregation.
The benefits of going to church
As a new believer, you might be wondering, “Why is it is important to go to church? What are the benefits?” There are some who believe watching a sermon and doing a bible study at home suffices. But the reality is this doesn’t compare to going to church.
There are many lifelong benefits associated with going to church.
#1 Spiritual Benefits
Going to church brings many spiritual benefits.
At a church, you’re under leadership. These leaders will learn who you are over time. This helps them know how to pray for you, encourage you, teach you, and challenge you in your faith.
You’re also more likely to experience fellowship at church. Finding like-minded believers who want to worship God with you is a blessing. These believers could turn into your closest and lifelong friends.
Of course, going to church also brings you closer to God (which is most important!). There have been numerous times where I’ve heard a message at church that was relevant to my life at the time. God was speaking to me through people at church.
#2 Mental Benefits
Going to church also brings mental benefits.
Depression, anxiety, and stress are lower in those who attend church versus those who don’t. According to AARP, “research links regular worship to lower rates of depression, among other health benefits”.
It makes sense. Going to church gives you a strong sense of community with like-minded people. You have the support of others as you go through life.
You also have the power of prayer on your side and a plethora of people to pray for you. God says, “where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them”.
#3 Physical Benefits
Surprisingly, going to church also brings physical benefits.
Those who go to church tend to be healthier than those who don’t.
Those who go to church are less likely to smoke, drink, and have unhealthy habits. They’re even more likely to live longer! According to AARP, “women who went to religious services more than once a week had a 33 percent lower risk of death than those who didn’t”.
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