Have you ever been done with church? There are plenty of other reasons to stop going to church. But often, it comes with a question, can you be a Christian and not go to church?Maybe you experienced hurt at your old church and aren’t ready to find a new one. Or your church might have been more like a clique than a helpful place for the community. Or you might have moved on from a church that put politics over loving like Jesus.
So let’s find out. But I’ll lead off with the truth, yes. Yes you can be a Christian, even if you don’t attend church, and this post will show you why.
What the Bible Says (And Doesn’t Say) About Going to Church
The Church isn’t a building; it’s people. People who imitate Jesus with their whole lives. People who are making positive changes in their own lives and in the lives of others. And people who are making the earth more like heaven.
While the Bible has a lot to say about the value of the church, it doesn’t have much to say about our question, can you be a Christian and not go to church?
But that doesn’t stop many Christian leaders from using verses (poorly) like these to make the case that weekly attendance at a church building is essential:
- Hebrews 10:25: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
- 1 Corinthians 14:26: “What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.”
- Acts 2:42: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
- Romans 12:5: “so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
Here’s what these verses do say. The New Testament Church strongly emphasized gathering together as a community of believers to worship, learn from teaching, fellowship, and practice their faith.
It’s true, followers of Jesus regularly met together. And we should imitate their practice of gathering. But notice what these verses don’t say. These verses don’t tell us we need to meet at a building every week. And they don’t prescribe walking into a big room, listening to a few songs, hearing a message, and going home.
Does this make modern Christian practices wrong? Not at all. Church buildings and church services can be helpful for Christians all over the world. But I remember asking, “can you be a Christian and not go to church?” as a child and feeling judged.
Can you relate? Hopefully this answer can help you find peace.
Can You Be a Christian and Not Go to Church?
Yes, you can be a Christian and not go to church. No verse says not going to church will lead to God’s anger. Faith is a personal relationship with God, not a list of rules to check off.
Each person’s relationship with God is unique. How we choose to practice and express faith will vary. For example, some may connect more deeply with God through prayer, reading scripture, or serving others rather than attending church. Additionally, some Christians can’t go to church due to physical or mental challenges, living in remote areas, or other reasons. And some may have had negative past experiences at church that make it difficult for them to attend.
God loves us unconditionally and is not disappointed or angry with us if we cannot attend church. He understands our limitations and circumstances. But God does want us to be whole, and part of wholeness comes in trusted relationships. So can you be a Christian and not go to church? Yes. But you do need to find people to help you as you follow Jesus.
So let’s stop feeling guilty for not attending church. God isn’t limited to one specific location or type of worship. He is present everywhere and can be worshiped wherever you are. You can continue to grow in your faith and have a deeper relationship with God through meditation, spending time in nature, rest, building relationships, prayer, reading scripture, and serving others.
Why are you asking the question, can you be a Christian and not go to church?
Let’s be honest. If we’re asking this question then we’re probably not at the right church. Or at least, we’re not experiencing church as it was meant to be. But not every church is like your church. So, if you’re still willing to give church another try, then spend some time researching churches in your area or even online!
Oh, and remember, you’re not a bad Christian for asking, “can you be a Christian and not go to church?” It’s an honest question, and it’s often connected to healthy doubt.
Maybe one day you’ll choose to find a new church, or go back to an old one. If you do, don’t choose out of guilt, fear, or pressure. Instead, choose to return because you believe it’s a healthy choice. In the meantime, find ways to connect with other followers of Jesus. Not because you have to, but because it’s healthy.
Remember, if you find yourself asking the question, “can you be a Christian and not go to church?” The answer is definitely yes.
For more on doubt, check out this post.