Perhaps I have never written a more obvious, and yet, a more needed blog post than this one.
However, there is more nuance to the discussion, and as Christianity becomes less “popular” here in the West, we may be forced to think more carefully about this issue than we ever have before.
Thus, there are two versions of this problem.
The first came in years past with the rise of the televangelist. The argument essentially was, “Well, I can get good preachin’ right here on my TV! Why do I need to come to church?”
The problems with this are manifold to say the least. The whole message of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is that God’s people gather. We are specifically instructed to gather and to not neglect such gathering (Hebrews 10:25).
If anything is clear from the Book of Acts, it is like that Christians need community. In this world, that is how we survive.
The second version of this problem is even worse, though, and it is more recent. COVID-19 has caused many churchgoers to be wary of leaving their homes. And, dare I say, it is provable that there are some whose last days darkening the door of a church were those just before the lockdowns started.
Some, sadly, will never return. Or, at least they will not for a long time.
Furthermore, what if the light persecution the Western church is facing right now continues to escalate. To this day, we are seeing nothing like our Christian brothers and sisters in the East.
And yet, those days may be coming.
Here is the point, and my encouragement to you:
We may have to re-evaluate what church looks like. I hope not; but we may.
Here in the United States, we’ve been given the awesome privilege to worship God as we see fit. When, where, and with whom.
I have heard preachers preach against “house church.” In fact, there are entire house church movements right now that are looked down upon by many.
But may I suggest to you that these movements may have stumbled upon something profoundly—and originally—Christian?
These models look very similar to what we see in Acts—much more similar, I would argue, than what the majority of American Christians will attend next Sunday.
So as we struggle to maintain (or get back to) “normal,” let us remember that God’s people—and God’s ways—are anything but normal.
The church has, can and will continue to survive persecution of all kinds. The persecution which may be seen in coming days in the United States will be no different.
God’s Kingdom is not of this world. It does not reside in a building. Christians shouldn’t just go to church—Christians are the church!
So yes, Christians should go to church. But let us not be so naive as to ignore that a day may be coming when “church” doesn’t look like it does today.
Will you be there?