It’s a good question: Do you need to go to church? Before we can answer that, we have to ask ourselves why we go to church (or why we don’t go). If you only go because your parents make you, I think you’re missing the point. Same thing if you only go because it’s the “Christian” thing and it’s what you’ve always done.
I challenge you to, while you read this post, consider why you go to church (or, again, don’t go). This is between you and God.
Ideally, we’d go to church to learn more about God, worship Him, and receive support from our fellow Christians. But a lot of times, that’s not what church is to us. We go to hang out with friends, because we don’t have a choice, because it would be “uncool” as Christians not to go, or because we think we can be saved just by going to church. I probably missed a few reasons, but the point isn’t to cover all of the possible reasons. The question is, why do you go (or don’t go)?
Here’s the reason I’m discussing this: If we don’t figure this out now, as teenagers, what do you think will happen when you’re on your own? When your parents aren’t making you go to church anymore, what do you think you’ll do? Maybe you go to college and the world is suddenly different. It’s no longer uncool not to go to church–it’s the other way around.
Even if you think you’re in no danger of something like this, if your reasons are wrong, you probably are. Let’s face the facts: It’s incredibly easy not to go to church. Maybe one Sunday you stayed up late, you’re just so tired, and you can’t get out of bed. Maybe Wednesday night you have an insane amount of homework to do and you just can’t make it to church. It’s okay. It’s not like you have to go to church or God will be mad at you. But, after doing it once, it’s just so easy to stay in bed again the next Sunday, and the one after that and the one after that. It’s so easy to use the homework excuse and say you just can’t make it, and pretty soon you’re not going to church at all. The devil is at work in these places, trying to pull you away.
You know what, though? When you go to church because you have a genuine thirst for God’s Word, you’ve got it. Because we do need to go to church. We learn at church, are encouraged and built up.
You may say that your church isn’t like that. “Oh, my pastor’s so boring, and I know everything he says anyway” or “Everyone at my church is mean and self-centered; I really don’t like going there.” In that case, you probably just need to find a different church. Don’t assume that they’re all alike. Churches are run by people and thus, sadly, have their flaws. It’s important to find a church that is pursuing God whole-heartedly, a place where you feel comfortable. Then you can begin to grow in your faith and your relationship with Christ.
So the answer? Church is an important part of our life and our faith. If you feel like you don’t need to go, ask yourself why. It’s not like going to church will make you not a Christian, not any more than going to church will make you one. But once we decide we don’t need church, it’s pretty easy to decide that you don’t need God–which is ever so far from the truth.