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How Important Is Going to Church Every Week, Really?

Wed, Jul. 19, 2017 Posted: 05:29 AM


Christian tradition suggests that Christians should attend church services regularly, preferably at least once a week on Sunday. But for millions of Christians, going to church is more of a chore than an enlightening experience, and some go purely to maintain the tradition, rather than to enjoy some spiritual benefit.
Still, millions of Christian leaders insist that attending church service—as regularly as possible—is vitally important to your faith and your salvation. So just how important is going to church every week, really?

Benefits of Going to Church
These are the main benefits of going to church:

  • Remembering the faith. Making a weekly habit of your church attendance forces you to remember your faith. Walking into the building and being confronted with religious imagery, and singing and praying as a group will remind you why you’re a Christian, and equip you with a sense of belonging and understanding that you can carry with you for the rest of your week.
  • Engaging with the community. Just as important, if not more so, is the sense of community that you’ll reap and contribute to by attending mass. People in a church community are there to help and support one another; you’ll meet people who are more than willing to talk to you about or lend a hand with your problems, and you’ll get the chance to be the same person.
  • Reflecting. Despite the communal and outward-focused aspects of church, it’s also an opportunity for internal reflection. This is your chance to recount the experiences of your week, decompress, and prepare for the week ahead.

These benefits are important, but is church really the only way to get them?

Why Weekly Attendance Can (and Sometimes Should) Be Forgone

These are just some of the reasons why weekly church service shouldn’t be “mandatory,” and why it sometimes should be forgone for other activities:

  • Quality time matters more. Spending quality time with your family and friends is more important than preserving an old ritual. Giving and receiving love with one another will do more to strengthen your faith and fill your life with meaning than attending a church service could. That doesn’t mean you should skip church to zone out in front of the TV, however; it just means there are opportunities for more meaningful interaction beyond what the church can offer.
  • It has no point if you aren’t invested. Even the Pope has stated that there’s no reason to go to church if you’re just there as a “parrot,” mimicking the practices of others without truly investing in the faith. If you go to church as a kind of zombie, tired and dragging yourself to the location, and the only reason you’re there is to say you went, there’s no reason for you to go. Church should be a spiritual experience, and if you aren’t getting that out of it, it’s not worth your time.
  • You can explore your faith on your own. There’s nothing in the Christian faith that explicitly states that the only way to improve your relationship with God is in a group setting. In fact, we’d argue that you can come to more profound revelations and a higher sense of enlightenment by introspecting on your own. Church isn’t necessary to explore your faith and spirituality, and in fact, it can distract some people from their core questions and ideas. In many cases, it’s even advantageous to explore your faith alone.
  • Reflection can happen anywhere. The specific location of a church is conducive to personal reflection; there’s ornate architecture, religious imagery, and in some cases, confessionals where you can recount your sins and personal experiences in a designated area. However, this personal reflection doesn’t need a specific location to unfold; you can introspect anywhere. In fact, you might be even more successful if you do it in a quiet area with personal significance to you.

Overall, church is an important and significant tradition in the Christian faith, and if you attend, you’re going to reap the benefits. However, it shouldn’t be necessary, and in some cases, there are better alternatives for practicing and remembering your faith.

George Smith