Why we go to church.
Church guides our growing faith.
Church assists us on our faith journey.
We can build our ‘belief in God’ there.
Yes, long ago, I personally believed that churches were just ‘gathering centres’ for wishful thinkers!
Hmmm … indeed, I was once a very serious atheist. My wife on the other hand actually took herself to church as a child. And she accepted God was real from that time onwards. Imagine my taunts, in her direction, over our early years of life together. However, eventually it all got turned around for me … and I had to ‘eat my words’. Please see the article, “Too good to be true?“
Simply speaking, I now know that the Church has an awful lot to offer us all! And I have no need to encourage YOU, the reader, to go to church other than the fact I ‘know full well’ that it works best to do so. (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.)
2. COZ IT WORKS BEST!
I write with confidence that the Church is essentially “the fellowship that nurtures and sustains Christians”. I cannot overstate that fact. You see, at first, I tried to build faith and belief myself without going to church. No, I really didn’t want to waste my time by regularly fronting up to church.
BUT I found that approach just didn’t work well enough for me. Yes, if anyone wishes to trial Christian faith for themselves, and come to know that God is real as a result, then they do need to go to church! And look, I ‘attest’ to that as a genuine finding. (As already stated, I am from a senior auditing background.)
From my own long term experience of attending services with communities/ fellowships of faith, i.e. churches, they absolutely do give us the ‘ability’ to recognise that God really is a loving ‘being’ and not merely a ‘concept’ existing in the imagination of others.
Finally, I believe that all the reasons, presented in this article, for attending church are important. However, I accept that info under the next heading may be the most interesting for readers. Particularly for those readers who are still wondering about the ‘truth’ behind Christianity. And maybe even whether God exists at all?
3. BUILDING BELIEF THROUGH EXPERIENCES
This website is built around the understanding that each of us CAN come to ‘believe in God’ by deliberately engaging with him. Just as I did, you will build sound Christian faith as a result, and find all the evidence you need to believe in God’s existence. Please see the article, “Framework for evidence” to understand what I mean by ‘evidence’.
And the Church is a great place to begin anyone’s journey of faith, as such. Very importantly, we can at least notice subtle evidence of God’s presence in almost any Christian fellowship of faith. From my own past experience as an atheist, I know that it may be hard for some readers to ‘swallow’ this. But you can read about it in the article, “The subtle stuff in any church“. Look, as I found out at the beginning of my own journey of faith, there is just this sense of peace and tranquility that awaits each of us who attend church. Yes, it is hard to put ‘that one’ into words. The sensation of ‘being at ease’ usually sticks with us for hours after leaving church.
However … and this may even be a lot harder to accept … if you attend the ‘appropriate’ area of the Church you can witness or even experience what I confidently refer to as ‘obvious evidence‘ of his presence. That is, personal and irrefutable evidence. It can even be ‘palpable’ at times – you may be able to feel it. As the auditor that I was at the time, I seriously analysed my own experiences and the events I witnessed there. Then I evaluated the overall results. Please open the article, “Is this Spirit stuff real?” and read about that.
The article following the next one actually leads into that related subject of ‘obvious evidence’. There are a number of articles in this section of the website that expand on the subject.
4. 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 our Lord and the relationship with him that awaits you.
Yes, we all need to continually build our knowledge of the Lord; grow our Christian ‘faith’. 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. As far as everyday life is concerned, we need this info to guide us to effectively engage with God, and as a result build our ‘belief’ in him. In simple words, if we don’t build our knowledge, we just won’t be able to fully ‘recognise his presence‘ there at work within the church AND our lives.
So the Church is vital for the growth of essential knowledge needed to build both our ‘faith’ and ‘belief’.
For a basic understanding of Christianity, please read the article, “Christianity explained”. The article tries to strip away the ‘mystery of it all’ for anybody who has had little or no contact with Christianity. I think it also helps to have a bit of Christian knowledge when fronting a church for the first time. It just assists us to follow the services; be more relaxed.
An overview of how we build both faith and belief, continually using one to support the other, in our so-called “journey of faith” is also available in the article, “Can I really believe in God?”.
5. 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 truly contented life anyway. As practising Christians, we do eventually come to find that out for ourselves.
I fully understand, again as an ex-atheist, that this might seem ‘some 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 enables us to recognise that we are members of our own church’s loving family. All members are effectively ‘brothers and sisters in Christ’. It doesn’t take much time for us to really ‘feel at home’ in our new church.
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. In effect, that is made so much easier by being in the company of those ‘brothers and sisters’ of ours.
6. 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 only go to church to further their own ‘hidden agendas’, i.e. not to maintain 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 asks 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 speed-up the growth of your faith/ belief. And I write from experience, they will 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.
7. POSITIVE EFFECTS ON OUR PERSONAL LIVES
Although this website’s focus is mainly about 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. Effectively, we are guided into that by our fellowships of faith … under the leadership of the Lord of course.
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 obvious than for others. But when looking back on our ‘old selves’, after ongoing church membership, we should all see improvement. Simply put, the Spirit lovingly touches us as a result of our relationship with Jesus. Yes, it all flows from the effect of God’s ‘grace‘ on our lives. From the Bible:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.
We just cannot seem to get this positive impact on our lives, no matter how much we study and practise Christianity on our own, i.e. 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.
In summary, the Church plays a very important role in our Christian journey of faith.
Finally, I must add that our actual choice of church can be very important for us. And the church that we choose to attend right now, although it may meet our present needs, may not continue to be suitable as our journey of faith travels along. Be sure to watch out for any ‘guidance‘ from the Lord, in this regard.
Continue to the next article, “Choosing a church“.