View Full Version : Honest question....LONG post! ^_^;

02-11-02, 01:53 AM
Wow, this board has really changed since I was last here....

Okay, here's what I wanted to ask. Do you all think it's absolutely necessary to go to church? Every time I meet another Christian, the very first thing they always seem to ask me is "Where do you go to church?" Well, I don't go. I haven't been in years. It's not because I've slacked off or anything like that. The truth is, I don't like church. I used to be afraid to say that, thinking it was bad of me. But I don't suppose it's really bad to be honest.
See, when I was little, my family and I went to several different churches. And at each one, we had bad experiences. Not just with the congregation, but most often with the pastors. Now I know this sounds disrespectful. I don't mean to be. I also know that someone's going to say that I shouldn't hold pastors to such high standards, that they are human, too. I'm really not doing that, either, because I realize they're human, like everyone. If you want, I'll tell you a little about one of them, and what he did that made me lose any respect I might have had for him. But actually, I'm just trying to explain why I don't go to church or have anything to do with it. Basically, I don't have much faith in people, and I can't seem to trust them. I have never, ever felt at ease at any church, even as a child. Something always made me feel uncomfortable. I used to think that maybe it was me, that I was just a bad person or something. But I've never felt close to God in church, and couldn't even participate in the praise part of the services. Sometimes, at certain churches, something felt wrong there. No one ever told me that, or said anything like that in front of me. I felt it on my own. It's strange, but when I'm alone, outside and I pray to God, I feel very close to Him, then. He reaches my heart through His Creation, like the stars at night, or the wind in a tree. It's then that I feel His presence most of all. Something I never felt in a church, no matter how much I tried.
So, please tell me. Do you think I'm wrong, that maybe I did something wrong in church or something, or that maybe God just chooses to speak to me in quieter places? I ask what you all think, because I'm a little confused. People think that church is something everyone should have in their lives, and that there's something wrong with you if you don't. I still believe that any way God can reach you is good, no matter what, and I guess I'm kind of hoping there's someone who understands what I'm saying....?
Thanks...and I hope I don't come off as judgmental or anything. I'm sorry if I did!

Breni Sue
02-11-02, 03:17 AM
Tough question. But I will give my thoughts...

I think going to church is important, but it's not something that determines whether you are a Christian or not. Only your personal relationship with God can make you a Christian. However, church is a place that helps us stay strong in our faith. We are faced daily with the corrupted morals and values of the secular world - things that challenge us and even cause us to doubt. It can be tempting to succumb to if we do not do something to strengthen our commitment to God. That is where church comes in. We have the comfort of fellow Christians around us - to answer our questions, share our concerns with, and to lift us up when we fall. Nobody in the world can really understand us like they can - nobody else is better suited to give us the answers that we need. A couple Scriptures to consider:

1Thessalonians 5:10 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

The only way we can strengthen ourselves and ensure that we are following the right path is to be in the presence of those within the family of Christ.

My personal opinion here is that you have just had a lot of bad experiences as far as churches go. It happens. But I truly believe with all my heart that there is a church family out there for everyone if we are willing to let God lead us. That is not to say that we have to go every single week, or that church has to necessarily be an actual building. Church is about worshipping in fellowship and learning about the Word of God with other believers. It is not where you worship that matters, it's who you worship with. But judging from Scripture, I don't believe it is His will that we worship alone.

Just my thoughts. Hope this has helped some, I will keep you in my prayers! :)

02-11-02, 05:17 AM
Do you all think it's absolutely necessary to go to church?
I think I would agree with kyrie that it is important to be involved in a church of some sort.

I'm sure if you look a bit further a fieled you might find something to suit you.

Remember a church is the people not the building, so anywhere christians get together to worship is a church. Many universities run christian groups (I think you yanks call them colleges) and I know the ones here in australia often have a local church attached that tend to be more in touch with local youth and things like that. Perhaps something like that would suit you. There are lots of different sorts of churches so i'm sure if you look around you can find something to suit you. Have you tried big churches and little churches etc?

Also, apart from the support you get from a church, (which kyrie covered nicely), it is important to remember (it can be hard in our strongly indiviualistic societies) that church isn't just what you get out of it, but what you give to those around you.

We had a sermon on this topic a few months ago and it really struck me. When you go to church you can encourage and serve all those people around you. Even if you dont feel like going you have a chance to serve others (our highest calling as christians?). When you dont go to church the others thier miss out on your presence and a chance to be built up by you. Just something to keep in mind.

So I guess the short answer is, no christians dont have to go to church, but the longer answer is, if you dont, has it occured to you that you deny other believers (and so by extention the rest of the body of christ) of the chance to serve you (with thier gifts) and you are denied a chance to serve and be served by others.

Anyway, just my 2c, i hope it helps.


02-11-02, 05:46 AM
Those two pretty much said anything that I was going to say. Church attendance isn't necessary for salvation, but like the verses Kyrie pointed out - fellowshipping with believers is so important.

I NEED my church - especially my sunday school class. I need the fellowship. I need those people there that will pray for me and support me and encourage me. I need the accountability. I need the opportunities there to be involved in ministry. I don't know where I would be without my church.

I understand that it would be hard to go after having such a bad experience. And, I think pastors should be held to a little higher level - there is a verse somewhere that talks about teachers being judged differently - and a pastor is definitely a teacher. Like Kyrie said, I believe there is a church out there for every Christian. As part of the body of Christ - it's important to get plugged into the body and work with other believers. You have gifts and talents that the Church needs. We all work together. So, while it's not necessary, it's definitely vital.

02-11-02, 09:39 AM
Dear Hikaru;

From your posts it would appear that as a young child you attended several churches with your family. Your family had bad experiences, which effected how you view the "church".

__________________________________________________ _________

See, when I was little, my family and I went to several different churches. And at each one, we had bad experiences. Not just with the congregation, but most often with the pastors.

__________________________________________________ ___________

Was the difficulty with how you were personally treated, or was the difficulty more in what were the doctrines and belief systems of the church?

What is imperative in our walk with God is not what church we attend, but our personal faith in the Lord Jesus Chris, for it is only through Jesus that one comes to God.

__________________________________________________ __________

I still believe that any way God can reach you is good, no matter what, and I guess I'm kind of hoping there's someone who understands what I'm saying....?

__________________________________________________ __________

Have you ever received Jesus as your personal savior?

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

We must admit that we are a sinner:
Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Be willing to turn from sin (repent):
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

Believe that Jesus Christ died for you, was buried and rose from the dead Romans 10:9-10

Through prayer invite Jesus into your life to become your personal savior:
Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Pray this prayer if you want to receive Christ:
Dear God, I am a sinner and need forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ shed his precious blood and died for my sin. I am willing to turn from sin. I now invite Christ to come into my heart and life as my personal savior. Amen.

If you trusted Jesus as your Savior, you have just begun a wonderful new life with Him. Now:

1) read your Bible every day to get to know Jesus Christ better, and the book of John is a great place to start.

2)Talk to God every day in prayer every day He is as close as your very next breath.

3)Be baptised, worship, fellowship and serve with other Christians in a church where Christ is preached and the Bible is the final authority.
("Where two and three are gathered in my name")

4)Tell others about Jesus Christ.

02-11-02, 04:03 PM
Going to church isn't as important as your personal relationship with God.

having said that, by not going to church you're missing out on the chance to fellowship with other christians, and that's important in questioning your relationship with God and learning about Him.

Not too long ago, church was more than just a sermon on Sunday, it was an activity center, a social center, a child-care center and school all rolled up into one. It was a place for the community to gather not only to worship God but also to forge bonds between people in the community. I think we've all noticed how now not even neighbors know each other and the world is fragmented. I won't go so far as to say that it's *just* because people stopped going to church, but I do think it has *something* to do with it.

I think probably everyone here has had bad experiences in church and that's okay. In life you have bad experiences *everywhere*, that's part of being human. Personally, I think it's important to find a church where you are comfortable and feel accepted, but it is kind of hard.

02-11-02, 04:56 PM
hikaru, i can totally understand where you are coming from. i've never really felt comfortable in large social settings, and just going somewhere and sitting in a crowd of people is just like another class lecture for me. if i were more outgoing, i think this wouldn't be a problem for me, and i'd make friends in church so i would actually look forward to attending it on a weekly basis.

i've also had some rather interesting experiences with people my age and older who are church attending christians, and those things just sorta scared me and i don't really want to go through the same things again.

however, i do understand the importance of being in fellowship with other christians, and i do try to work on that. i try to go to some church thing every few months...presently, it's been things sponsored through my university, though when i graduate i think i'm gonna try attending a german church...

i think the most important thing to keep in mind is that you don't want the church thing to become a battle of wills between yourself and things god may want for you. i sorta learned this lesson in aikido when my sensei wanted me to test for a rank. i didn't want to, and i got out of it. however, i missed out on a lot by not experiencing the testing and the group socialness that goes along with testing. i also realized that part of me felt like i was above testing for a rank, and that i didn't need the formalized ritual of rank tests. but i do need the rank if i want to really help anyone else progress in aikido. it's not really saying much if you suggest to someone that they do this move and this move if you are the same rank as them. however, if you have that tangible external show of rank, you can say the same things, and people will follow what you say, and you can teach others.

i think going to church is sorta like that, because if you want to help other people grow in their faith, you sorta need to have the actual church time to be credible. i mean, i probably wouldn't strongly believe the words of someone that wasn't involved in a church/fellowship thing/whatever to some degree. my initial thoughts would probably be along the lines of what makes you so special that you don't have to follow these things in the bible. i think i have probably come across as somewhat elitist in the past because of my reluctance to attend church, but that will hopefully get changed in a while.

sorry for rambling. i have no idea if what i said makes a huge amount of sense....

02-12-02, 10:39 AM
Humans are not creatures who can thrive in isolation. In 1 Kings 19 when Elijah thought he was alone, the last of God's prophets in a society where all who stood for God were ordained for death by the wicked rulers, he becomes despondent until God informs him that he is, in fact, not alone. The need of humans to fellowship with one another has been well-documented, happy hermits are truly rare cases. Indeed most social scientists of whom I am aware would classify love and fellowship as a human need as basic as food, water, shelter, and clothing. With that in mind, the Biblical directives for the believer to seek out assembly with fellow believers (of which Kyrie was so kind to point out a couple) makes much sense. Simon and Garfunkel's character got it wrong- no man is a rock or an island. No one can stand by him/herself. Eventually there comes a time when a person will run into a wall and the counsel and prayers of fellow believers will be absolutely necessary to one's progression in faith. Fellowship of this sort extends above and beyond merely going to church, but the support system that a church embodies (which is literally out of this world!) is a most key part of plugging in with fellow believers. Also, consistent instruction in spiritual truth is most important to the believer. It is imperative that you seek out a proper regular assembly.

Peace, Love, and Jesus Christ,


02-13-02, 12:31 AM
Thank you so much, everyone, for your concern and replies. ^_^
I did accept Jesus into my heart, long ago, and rededicated myself a few times afterward. It's true, I do struggle on my own. I suppose that's true, no matter what. But, you see, I've always been more or less a loner. I don't really have friends, and no one I really confide in anymore. Everyone's got their own things to deal with and all, and I respect that. But this is the way I've always been. I like being alone, in a sense. See, I like to be around people, but I'm not comfortable telling them things. I dunno, hard to explain. I'm not a lonely person at all. It's really not so bad this way...but it makes things like going to church difficult for me, even without the bad memories, though those memories make those old bad feelings come back whenever I step through the church door. I guess I can't help linking those feelings to church, even though I know that's not fair.
I probably sound really weird or like I'm making excuses. Well, I'm not making excuses, at least. ^_^; Anyway, thank you for your help, everybody! :)

02-13-02, 05:15 AM
I did accept Jesus into my heart, long ago, and rededicated myself a few times afterward. It's true, I do struggle on my own. I suppose that's true, no matter what. But, you see, I've always been more or less a loner. I don't really have friends, and no one I really confide in anymore.
I used to be a lot like this. May I encourage you to give church another go. As I said, its not just what you get out it is what you give to others. You should go to church for this reason if no other.


02-13-02, 09:45 AM
I know for the "loner" church attendance by one's self is a difficult thing to achieve.

But I think we all "need" someone. My church family has often been the only reason I held onto God. I'm not really out going until I find my "niche" and that is not always easy to do.

Hikaru: I would suggest you get a buddy of yours and make Sunday an event for the both of you. I know that people are people and they hurt us and disappoint us etc, but God instructs us to NOT forsake gathering together "as is the manner of some." So if God tells us to "get together" there must be a need for it in the life of the believer.

Find a friend some one who goes to church regularly and hook up with them. That way you aren't alone and you have someone who can help you through getting over all those "bad" experiences. I think we probably have all had some of those.
Keep looking and I'm sure God will place you exactly where he wants you, but remember God won't "put you" if you aren't willing and looking for Him.

02-14-02, 10:36 AM
Hikaru - I understand the loner thing, too. When I was growing up, I loved God but really despised church. When I turned 18 or 19 I really felt an "urge" to go to church. So I went to my neighbor's church, and I took boyfriends with me. I didn't want to chit chat with members. I didn't want them "grilling" me about where I used to go or what I was looking for. Sometimes I went alone. And I always slipped out quickly. And I always hated the handshaking thing...

Then after I was married, my husband and I could not agree on a church. He grew up Pentecostal and wanted to stay as far away from that as possible, and yet I did not want a liberal church. So, we went church shopping. Every week we visited a different church. We had criteria in mind: we wanted an evangelical pastor that was interesting, we wanted a choir, and we wanted a group of people with different ages and families. We found it. It took several months. We don't go every week. And I've learned I like the handshaking thing! I realize that now it's part of my job as a member to make new people feel welcomed.

It seems that you might have an "urge" to go... Maybe the Spirit is talking to you... And maybe if you "church shopped" and was able to decide on the church of YOUR choice, you might really benefit. Also, for a loner, I have found that I always get something out of the message. Sometimes the message is just for me and I wonder why the Lord didn't just ask the Pastor to come directly to me to give me the message rather than do a sermon around it! Don't let small things turn you away from deepening your relationship with the Lord. I take what I need in the message, and I leave everything else at the door as I leave. God bless, Kim