Do You Need to go to “Church” to be Christian?

I was given the cost and immediately knew I was not going be able to get married in my church. My heart was broken. After this I spiraled down into a very uncomfortable place. I was angry, offended, and disappointed. I started questioning what my church stood for, if it matched my values, and why I was a member in the first place. And even worse, I questioned if I even needed to be going to a church at all.

We have been attending our church for almost four years, have become members, and we’re both baptized here. When we got engaged and started planning our wedding there was no question we were going to get married in our church.

We told some folks we were engaged and that we wanted to get married in April or May and they seemed excited… But then no one followed up. To figure out the process I had to get in touch multiple times and when I finally got the details I was in sticker shock.

We could not afford to get married in our church.

For the next few months we stopped attending worship in the church. I was too upset.

We began having our own private Bible study and worship at home. And we have a community in our neighborhood with a small group Bible study and a twice monthly prayer and potluck. This community with our daily Bible reading and meditation, our time reading and worshiping together, and our prayer was enough, right? 

Do we need to goto a church building to be Christians?

I don’t think we do…

During this time I strengthened my daily Spiritual disciplines at home by focusing on my daily reading, meditation, fasting, and prayer, I began a fruitful private Saturday morning Bible study where we are studying the ten verses we have selected to define our marriage, and started singing worship songs before dinner. Even without going to a building each Sunday I grew in my faith. 

I created my own Sunday service at home, every single day.

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” 

Matthew 18:20

I was let down by my church family. This has been especially difficult because some of my identity has come from my church. I am proud of the history and the service that the church has offered the community for the last few centuries. I’m proud of the revivals it lead, the missionaries it sent out, and all of the people it baptized, in the river no less!

But now it is clear to me I can still be a Christian without going to a church building on Sunday. Church is wherever I am with God and it is all the time.

“And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”

Ephesians 1:22 & 23

I’m still trying to work through this… We’ve started going to our church again, but we’ve decided to hold our wedding down by the river in our neighborhood. I have recently joined a group of church leaders and members to be trained by the Fuller Youth Institute on how to focus on what’s most essential in helping young people discover and love our church. I pray that I can help to make my church community feel more like a family.

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