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And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10: 24-25)


How important is it to attend church with respect to our relationship with God? Can a person be just as close to God without being affiliated to/attending a church? What is the purpose of the church in God's plan? Does God require us to be part of the church?


To answer these questions, we look at what the Bible says about church. Note that church and religion are not synonymous in the Bible, which carries many warnings against the wrong type of religiousness. James 1:27 states that the (only) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.


Acts 2:42 gives a good summary about the activities of the early church: And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Note that in Biblical terminology, the breaking of bread means sharing meals together.


1 Corinthians 12:24-28 likens the church with its individual human members to a body with different parts: God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.  If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. Here we see God's design to create a united community of diverse people, each bringing their own gifts and skills to that community.


God's reason for the church is revealed in Ephesians 3:10-11: His intent was that now the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord... This shows that there is a supernatural purpose for the church, which also means that we do not properly understand the full reason for it. Joining and taking part in a church is therefore partly an act of faith. It is not always easy, but we know it is the right thing to do, even when it is difficult.


May you be guided by the Holy Spirit to the church that God wants you to be a member of.