What happens if I don't go to church?
Pastor Steve Answers:
You miss out.
Some people think the Bible tells us to go to church. Actually, I don't think there's a single Bible verse that specifically tells us that.
Luke 4:16 says that it was Jesus' "custom" to go to the synagogue each Sabbath. And Hebrews 10:25 encourages us to not give up meeting together. But the context is about persevering in our commitment to Christ, explaining that meeting with other Christians can help us keep our commitment strong.
Before you think I'm against going to church, though, let me say that going to church can be one of the best ways to keep the Sabbath. It can be the high point of the week. And it can put you in touch with God. So I'm very much in favor of going to church on Sabbath!
Granted, I'm sure most people have experienced a Sabbath they wish they hadn't gone to church. Perhaps it was a boring church service or a squabble they got into with someone. The music may have turned them off, or maybe they were appalled by who showed up!
And then teens of every generation ask, "Can't we just go to the mountains or the ocean on Sabbath instead of church?" Yes, and many youth groups actually do this as a special event.
But we miss out if we don't go to church. Part of the Sabbath experience is worshiping our Creator. Now, we can do that alone or with a group in nature. But when we join together in a sanctuary, there's a different quality about the worship experience.
I don't sing very well by myself, but when I'm with a group of praise singers and a band, things can really sound good. I can read the Bible on my own, but at church I hear about a portion of Scripture that someone has studied and now shares with me (the sermon).
I need handshakes, hugs, smiles, and good ol' friendly slaps on the back. I get those at church. I want to give those too, and church is a place where I can do that.
Many teens don't feel part of the church experience. That's when church gets boring. The remedy? Get involved. Ask your pastor and/or youth leader what you can do. If you've already got some ideas, share them with church leaders.
Don't expect everyone to completely change everything about church because you have some ideas. Other people have ideas too. But it's your church as well, so take ownership like others do.
If you're really serious, be in charge of the church service for one Sabbath. Then after you've put everything into making it a great experience, you'll be shocked if others consider it boring or wonder what would happen if they didn't come to church that Sabbath.
The answer: they'd miss out!
By Steve Case. Reprinted with permission from Insight Magazine Online. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.