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I used to be an avid church-goer, but as of late I haven't had the chance. This is primarily because of my scouting activities, which take place Sunday mornings (the same time the church service takes place).

I know it's been stated in the bible that we as Christians should come together, but I am getting a chance to do that elsewhere, specifically at my youth group.

Would this lack of church attendance be unfaithful in the eyes of God?

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Watch this: godtube.com/watch/?v=KD6PK7NX –  mauris Aug 30 '11 at 1:13
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The Scouts schedule activities in conflict with worship???? They should not be doing this (unless perhaps your troop is sponsored by a synagogue or mosque with a different day of worship from Christianity). Call them on this. "Brave, clean, reverent" I think their motto ends. –  user116 Sep 9 '11 at 0:13
    
I just heard a really interesting sermon this week. The church is not a building where we sit each week and invite others; we are the church and we bring it to others. We're supposed to meet people where they are at. That being said, meeting once a week at the same time can be a good way to get filled so you can fill others. Meeting on Sunday mornings is not a requirement and many churches have several services (mornings, evenings, etc) if you have other commitments (like scouts). –  styfle Mar 18 '12 at 23:26
    
Not if you're a Seventh Day Adventist :) –  Affable Geek Mar 19 '12 at 12:20

8 Answers 8

up vote 9 down vote accepted

After watching "What is the Church?" , I posed myself a question: "What happens if my Church (the building) was taken down? Or my cell group being taken away? Would there still be Church?"

Answer is simply Yes. For the Church exists in each and everyone who believes, trusts, and acknowledges our Saviour - simply because each of us is a part of Christ's body. Even if the building is gone, even if our cell group is taken away, even if there is no hymns or Sunday services, Church still exists.

The reason why Church attendance is important is to

  1. To meet and affirm our faiths together
  2. To study more about God's Word (through sermons and Bible studies)
  3. To participate in healthy activities.

Quoting from the one of the comments on the video written by Tom Smith, Pastor at Mt. View Southern Baptist:

I have a friend that has gone though the same problem as Stan. He say's he will never find a church to attend, so why try. However, every Sunday Morning he and his wife play a round of golf with the same group of people, and then retire to their home for a brunch and fellowship, which eventually comes around to studying The Bible. I recently told him that even though he doesn't realize it, he has a Home Church, and he is it's Pastor. All this time he thought they were just getting together to enlighten each other about God, Jesus, and The Bible. Don't look now, but that is what a church is.

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For a moment there I read "Stan" as "Satan". –  Mechanical snail Aug 9 '12 at 13:01

Going to Church is like a spiritual version of a meal. While it won't kill you to miss one or two, you should do it regularly for best results.

That said, a regularly scheduled event that you attend over Church is not a good idea. If you don't eat for 6 months, you die.

Missing Church for that length of time could potentially be that devastating (spiritually, not physically).

Also, there is things you do at Church that you probably don't/couldn't do at a scout meeting, e.g. communion, confession and absolution, etc.

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6 months? Isn't it a couple weeks, tops? –  Mason Wheeler Aug 30 '11 at 3:18
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@Mason I'm not sure of the exact number, so I picked something I felt confident someone would be dead by. –  John Aug 30 '11 at 5:33
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Interesting analogy. I've never heard that one before but I like it. Get fed by the spirit with your community. –  styfle Mar 18 '12 at 23:21

Yes and no. Calvin said something to the effect of "God cannot be your Father if the Church is not your mother," his point being that the church is very, very important to the spiritual life of the Christian. Most if not all New Testament letters are addressed to specific churches, in Acts orders are given as to the order of worship, and Hebrews 10:24 says "not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near". Here's some verses on the church pulled from my study bible (don't have to time to check them all)

John 10:16; Eph 2:18, 3:15, 4:6; 1 Pet 5:2-4; Eph 1:22, 23; Gal 4:26; Heb 12:22-24;

and some on what it is

1 Cor 12:12-16; Eph 1:22,23; 1 Cor. 12:27

Also important in this question is a reformed understanding of the Lord's Day (please forgive what's obviously a lot of controversy surrounding this): that the Lord's Day (Sunday) is set apart, as a continuation of OT Sabbath, which was to be kept holy ("set apart"). Isaiah 58 says

If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the Lord, yand I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

I think this definitely carries over to our observance of Sunday now. You obviously don't have to go to church every Sunday, unqualified. The thief on the cross didn't. We certainly don't want to be legalistic about it - Christ's saving work has fulfilled the law for us, we don't earn our own salvation. But just like as God's adopted sons we have to obey him, in that sense we have to go to church. In light of the Isaiah 58 verses, think of it like this: why wouldn't you want to go to church? Worshiping God in the splendor of holiness through singing, receiving his grace and instruction and care through the reading and preaching of his word, talking with him through prayer, and fellowshipping with brothers in Christ - this should all be very important to us, especially on a day that God has set apart for us. We have six other days to get the rest of our life out of the way so we can worship and rest in God on one (just like God did at creation). Forgive me if this comes as harsh, but in your case i think church attendance is more important than scouts. Scouts (As I see it) isn't an "ox in the ditch."

Perhaps you could find another church to attend. As I see it, church is #1 for me on Sunday, above all else, but the least you can (and should) do is to use as much as your Sunday as possible with God (whether at church or not).

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This reminds me of 1 Cor 10:23, "You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is good for you. You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is beneficial." –  Kieran Senior Mar 19 '12 at 14:22

There is no direct order from God to attend church every Sunday - but the question should probably be asked why you feel that scouting activities are more important than God. Also, "youth group" is distinctly not "church": it's probably a good thing, but it is no substitute for the gathering of the faithful in worship to God.

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"more important than God" would imply Sunday-Church-Service == God. I'm sure you didn't want to say that ;D And if that youth group is one of Christians, I do think it is "church" (what is "church", anyway...) –  Jürgen A. Erhard Aug 30 '11 at 2:04
    
being Christian should be the pin-point of our lives; It should be foremost important. –  Phonics The Hedgehog Aug 30 '11 at 5:06

Catholics are obliged to attend Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days of Obligatiom. It is one of the precepts of our Church. Violating this precept is Grave Matter

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The writer to the Hebrews encourages regular fellowship:

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.

Hebrews 10:25

But the best example is Jesus Himself, who regularly (every week?) went to the synagogue on the Sabbath:

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom.

Luke 4:16a

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For some going to church is like going to school it is to further their knowledge and show something for it. Like a diploma. For church, goer’s acceptance of a greater experience offered in fellowship and the comfort of knowing that they are better for it.

For most of us, we get our diploma from the school of Hard Knox. Life offers experiences where faith in God does not come from the pulpit but from the wish of being connected and follow the teachings of Jesus. Church goers are no better for it just because the frequency of their attendance than a college graduate that has spent practically all his life working from one designation to another without ever securing a job or a profession. I guess the expression may describe those who don't know they teach.

The lack of reason or purpose not having faith is a man without direction. The teachings in the Bible provide a roadmap for all those who are committed to better understand what Jesus stood for. The example of the thief next to him on the cross had never spent day in church, yet his trust in Jesus made him as good a Christian as one could be. I have no problem how people worship or how often they go to church. It matters how they conduct their lives and live in peace with others. How they take care of their families and treat their neighbors. To know, that giving is greater than receiving. To know not to steal murder or covet an other men's wife is wrong. I guess by now you get my meaning it is as simple as following the Ten Commandments. What better way of following these commandments would make us more like how God intended. I am a part of that congregation. When I fail which I do often. I ask for His forgiveness. So far He has never let me down. Try it at home in your car or if you need to in your neighborhood church.

All nations including ours are following this basic example. One does not get special treatment from our laws just because you go to church every day. There are more hypocrites that make you believe that you will.

Talk to Joan of Arc or if you don't know her by name just think how the devoted men of God treated Jesus. If the example is a bit vague try not to see the cinder in the eyes of others when you cannot see the boulder in yours. Stop being judgmental and calling those that don't go to church regularly as heathens. Yet you consider yourself a stand up Christian just because you attend church every week. We are all sinners. There is only one pure soul that gave his life so that we would be forgiven for our sins . I follow Him. He is my church. I look around me and He is everywhere. When did you see him last? When you want to talk to God like me which I do regularly I ask for His secretary Jesus. He will answer no doubt no missed connections here.. Try it may be something worth talking about. Guess what? No long distance or roaming charges. Amen

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Welcome to C.SE! When you get the chance, please check out our tour and specifically How we are different than other sites. As it stands, this sort of answers the question, but to be candid, this isn't a great question :) In this case, I think your experience counts as a legitimate source of theology, but there is a definite preference here for Scripture, Tradition, and Reason where appropriate. –  Affable Geek Sep 3 '13 at 22:18
    
Welcome to the site. I want to second Affable Geek's comment, and I would like to encourage you to answer and ask more questions. If you try a few more times and read upvoted posts you will quickly see the preferred style here. You did okay here, but the question is the problem, not your answer. –  fredsbend Sep 3 '13 at 23:39

To me, this question is analogous as if one must be baptized in water and circumcised of the flesh to be a Christian but the Bible supports what is needed is to be baptized in the spirit and circumcised in the heart:

Deuteronomy 30:6

The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.

Matthew 3:11

I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

If the Church you attend is filled with people who are not circumcised in the heart and not baptized in spirit, then it would be better not to go!

However, that is just an example of why saying you have to go could be wrong. Attending Church does not make you a Christian as my pastor says BUT it sure an help!

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