In our How to Respond series, Pastor Nathanael Mayhew addresses the
question which is often asked: Why do I have to go to church? Can't I worship God at home? While it is true that we don't have to go to church to worship God, and that we can and should worship and pray to God everywhere we go and in everything we do, it begs the following question in reply: Are you taking time to worship God, to regularly reading His Word, to pray to God, to sing His praises, to encourage and be encouraged through fellowship with like-minded believers, to recieve the Sacraments that God has given to His people for their salvation as well as their great joy and comfort? These are things that are done in church because God has invited us to, out of joy for the gift of salvation He has won for us, and in the confidence that He is at work through them. In short, all these things are the outward marks which identify one as a believer in Jesus. Jesus summarizes the answer to this question well when He said: “He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God” (John 8:47). Consider the following passages which emphasize the importance of the above relationship with God: Psalm 1:2; Psalm 122:1; Acts 2:42; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 10:25. God’s Word is clear and gives us a sure answer to our question. It isn’t about whether a Christian “has to” go to church. The Child of God who has a relationship with God will go to church, study His Word, fellowship with other believers, receive His Sacraments, pray and praise Him. The Christian will go to church, because that is where God richly bestows His gifts of grace, life and salvation for sinners!