Why we need to go to church.
Church guides our growing faith.
Church assists us on our faith journey.
We can build belief in God there.

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1.    INTRODUCTION

From my extensive experience, attending services with communities/ fellowships of faith, i.e. churches, certainly increases the likelihood of recognising that God actually is a loving ‘being’ and not merely a concept existing within the writing of others.

(I am from a senior auditing background and the majority of my advisory team are Christian clergy. To glimpse the ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of this website please click here.)

I write with confidence that the Church is essentially “the fellowship that nurtures and sustains Christians”. I cannot overstate that fact. And I write it, despite the fact, that I firstly trialled Christianity for myself without attending church … with limited success I might add.

From my experience again, it is most unusual to not receive any benefit from attending a church service. Normally, there will be an increased sense of peace within you that will remain for some time. That seems to be the minimum outcome. But a lot more can come of it.

I believe that all the reasons presented below for attending churches are important. But, I accept that info under Heading 2 below may be the most interesting for those readers who are wondering about the ‘truth’ behind Christianity. Maybe even whether god exists at all?

2.    BUILDING BELIEF THROUGH OUR EXPERIENCES THERE

This website is built around the premise that we can come to believe in God by deliberately engaging with him. And the Church is a great place to begin anyone’s journey of faith, as such.

Very importantly, we should at least notice subtle evidence of God’s presence in almost any Christian fellowship of faith. And from my own past experience, I know that it may be hard for you to ‘swallow’ this. BUT I unashamedly write … and this may well be even harder to accept … if you attend the appropriate area of the Church you can even witness what I confidently refer to as tangible or palpable evidence of his presence. That is, personal and irrefutable evidence.

The article following the next one actually leads into that related subject of tangible or palpable evidence. There are a number of articles in this section of the website that expand on the subject.

Other types of evidence which are more subtle are evident in all types of churches. Of course they can be witnessed even in the traditional/ mainline Protestant and Catholic areas of the Church. You can read about them in the article, “The subtle stuff in any church“.

3.    GAINING ESSENTIAL KNOWLEDGE OF FAITH

Your church of choice should also lead you – through sermons (talks) from church leaders during services and guided Bible studies – to better understand God and the relationship with him that awaits you.

And we all need to continually build our knowledge of God. That includes what he has done for us already, what he offers us in our lives now and beyond, and what he in turn wants of us in life. Without this information it is difficult to put ‘faith’ to use in life, through engaging with God, and to thereby build our ‘belief’ in him. In other words, we won’t know how to fully recognise his presence there in our everyday lives.

Yes, the Church is vital to the growth of essential knowledge required to build both our faith and belief.

The first article in the website’s final section titled, “Christianity explained” presents the simple basis of the religion. It includes the positive features that set it apart from other religions, and should demystify it for anybody who has had little or no contact with it. However we all need to expand our knowledge of God as our faith and belief continues to grow. And the Church is the best place to guide us in that regard.

An overview of how we build faith and belief, continually using one to support the other, in our so called “journey of faith” is available in the article, “How to believe in God”.

4.    BECOMING A ‘MEMBER’ OF THE CHURCH

Again very importantly, we do need to be baptised; become true members of the ‘body of Christ’ (the Church). We should do so as soon as we can feel comfortable with that as practising Christians. We must be ready to turn our backs on our ‘old ways’ of life and accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. God certainly wants us to focus on a life that is not just about us: that cannot provide a contented life anyway, as we do eventually come to find out for ourselves.

I fully understand, as an ex-atheist myself, that personal comfort with such a position may seem a long way off at first. But, trust me, when you look into it with an open mind, the specialness of being a member of the body of Christ will grow on you as a positive option faster than you would expect!

That in turn underpins our recognition of being members of our own church’s loving family. All members are effectively brothers and sisters in Christ.

And when we do believe in God, entering into fellowship with our community of faith also gives each of us the opportunity for experiencing high quality time with him. And that is amplified by being in the company of other believers; those ‘brothers and sisters’ of ours.

5.    ASSISTANCE FROM OTHER CHURCHGOERS

I certainly accept that going to church may bring you into the company of frail ‘sinners’, most of whom are trying to become better Christians. I agree that you may find wowzers and bigots in the Christian community, just as you would anywhere else. You may even find people who solely attend church to further their own personal initiatives and agendas, i.e. not to sustain their relationship with God at all. They truly annoy all genuine Christians, and in many cases damage the credibility of the wider Church by their actions within and outside it. It has always been the case, and it probably will continue to be so.

But, you will also find that a very high proportion of people in church have deep faith and are very caring (as God requests of them). Honestly, within a short time these people will become like family to you. They will assist God by providing him with the means to hasten the growth of your faith/ belief and support you in any major life issues ahead. You should also hear first hand accounts of God’s presence within human life. That should help you to engage with God for yourself and thereby enjoy the benefits.

And of course, without doubt, all church ‘family members’ should encourage each other during their individual faith journeys. From the Bible:

Let us not give up meeting together,
as some are in the habit of doing,
but let us encourage one another –
and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
[Hebrews 10:25]

6.    POSITIVE EFFECTS ON OUR PERSONAL LIVES

Although this website’s focus is essentially on building belief and faith, there are other outcomes to be gained through contact with the Church. Through regular attendances, we all gradually become more content with life; get a ‘better handle on it’ for example.

Normally our relationships with those people most precious to us, especially our families and close friends, are also improved as the messages of Jesus ‘sink in’. For some people, these positive changes are more significant than for others. But when looking back on our old selves after prolonged exposure to the Church we should all see improvement. Simply put, the Spirit touches us as a result of our commitment to Jesus. From the Bible:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.
[Galations 5:22]

We just cannot seem to get this positive impact on our lives, no matter how much we study and practise Christianity in isolation, without becoming a genuine member of the ‘body of Christ’ (the Church).

Our church-led growth of knowledge and faith, together with its use in our lives, will as already indicated also lead to a much more contented and purposeful life. This is something that many of us do not even expect to happen … it is a ‘real return on our investment’ in faith.

7.    CONCLUSION

In summary, the Church plays a critical role in our Christian journey of faith.

In conclusion, I must add that our choice of church can be very important for us. And the church that we choose to attend right now, although it may meet our current needs, may not continue to be suitable during our journey of faith as it unfolds.

Continue to the next article, “Choosing a church”.


READERS’ INPUT

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