Why do I have to go to church? Is it a sin to not want to go to church?

It's the weekend. You're tired. You have school tomorrow. Why would you want to drag yourself out of bed and go to church on a Sunday morning? What if you find your church boring or you don't get along with the kids at youth group? What's the point of going to church anyway?

The Bible tells us that all believers need to attend church so that we can worship God, be taught from His Word (Acts 2:42; Hebrews 10:25), and have relationships with other believers. These are all important parts of growing closer to God and learning to live your life for Him. It gives you a structure that can help keep you focused on serving Him and serving others.

Once you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you have become a member of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). That's the Church (big "C"). In order for this Church Body to work well, there are all different "body parts," and you are one of them (1 Corinthians 12:14-20)! When the local church (small "c") gets together, they are following what the early believers did by gathering together regularly for encouragement, teaching, and just plain friendship (see Acts). Coming together like this is what makes the Body of Christ function best in a practical sense.

By having Christian friends, we can help and encourage one another (1 Corinthians 12:21-26). The Bible lists quite a few "one anothers," which are basically things we are supposed to do for each other. Things like loving one another (1 John 4:12), encouraging one another (Hebrews 3:13), inspiring one another to do good things (Hebrews 10:24), serving one another (Galatians 5:13), teaching one another (Romans 15:14), honoring one another (Romans 12:10), and being kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32). We can this outside of Sunday morning, but church is definitely a great place to get that started.

Is it a sin to not want to go to church?

I realize that all of these things we're describing here makes for an ideal situation, but you and I both know that not every church is going to do all these things perfectly. Maybe the music isn't something you like or the people share no interests with you. Maybe they don't even have a group for your age.

But remember, you are a "new creation" in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Attending church is absolutely vital to developing your faith and maturity as a believer. If you're finding that you do want to grow as a follower of Christ, but you just don't enjoy church or you dread going every Sunday, there may be something else going on in your heart.

Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom about pinpointing exactly what it is that's bothering you about your church or if something has turned you against "organized religion." The people in a local church may have hurt you in the past, and that does happen. People are not perfect, nor are churches. Forgiveness, grace, and understanding may be necessary in order to heal from past pain (Colossians 3:12-15).

No church will be perfect.

Not every church is going to offer the perfect situation. You may be stuck where you are because that's where your family attends. You may not have transportation to go anywhere else. Maybe you're in a small town, and the options are limited.

No matter what a church's programs or musical tastes may be, the local church should offer at least this ONE thing: Teaching doctrines that are based entirely on the Bible, which is trustworthy (Psalm 111:7) and inspired by God Himself (2 Timothy 3:16).

Church attendance is not going to guarantee you eternal life, but it will help you grow spiritually as a Christian. It's important to find a church that teaches from the Bible—first and foremost. Secondly, pray for your church to provide opportunities to make friends with other believers. It may be uncomfortable or awkward at first, but give it a try. Just because it isn't "required," that doesn't mean it can't be good for you. ;-)



ALSO SEE: Do I have to dress up for church?





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Catiana Nak Kheiyn is the webmaster and editor of 412teens.org and regularly teaches local young writers at her workshops. She also contributes at GotQuestions.org, Blogos.org, and GQkidz.org. When Catiana is not writing or hanging out with teens, she loves spending time with her two kids, four socially awkward cats, and one curly-tailed dog.