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Do I Have To Go To Church To Get Into Heaven?

This is a very frequent question that I hear. Many people want to know how important it is to actually attend church services. Some believe it is not necessary. Others believe it is essential. What is the truth?

Let’s begin with what the Word of God says about attending church services.

23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:23–25 NIV).

If you focus on verse 25 of the above biblical text, you will discover that meeting together is very important for believers. No one was ever meant to live out their faith all by themselves. Now keep in mind that the fellowship of the Early Church was not the sophisticated and organized religion we see today. It was simply a time to gather for fellowship, mutual encouragement, prayer, and ministry of the Word of God. It was in this context that church attendance (as we now know it) began.

Over the years, as Christianity became more formalized, things changed dramatically. A class system developed – clergy vs. laity. The clergy were the pastors or leaders. The laity was everyone else who sat in the pews. The podiums were raised high above everyone else to establish an obvious distinction. Despite this manmade separation, the importance of coming together for believers has never diminished.

Coming together in the context of religious gathering remains very important. It is always best when Christians come together. Here are some of the timeless reasons you should attend church services:

  • Hearing what the Lord is saying, through the speaker He has chosen.
  • Corporate worship.
  • Encouraging one another.
  • Praying together.
  • Mutual accountability.
  • Using your spiritual Gifts to bless others.
  • Financial support of the ministry.
  • Learning and practicing evangelism.
  • Blessing one another.

While this is not an exhaustive list, it certainly establishes the importance of coming together on a regular basis in Jesus’ name.

Please know, however, that church service attendance does not mean you are Born Again. It also doesn’t mean you are going to heaven. To put it in better terms, you go to church because you are going to heaven. Church service attendance is always the best choice.

There are, however, times when it is not possible or reasonable to attend church services (for a period of time). Some of these include:

  • Difficult work schedule
  • Difficulty finding a good church in your area
  • Illness which prevents you from attending

Notice what is not on this list:

  • Being too busy
  • Not wanting to be around people
  • Being hurt by church people
  • Laziness
  • Convincing yourself you don’t need to attend

Whenever you cannot attend church services, you must always find ways to spiritually feed yourself AND connect with the Body of Christ. You can “temporarily” connect with the Body of Christ through online or video experiences. While these are not meant to replace live interaction, they can assist you during certain periods of your life. Following are some keys to consider when seeking a digital religious connection:

  • Find a minister or ministry that really blesses you.
  • Find a ministry you are motivated to financially support.
  • Find a ministry that can digitally assist you in your spiritual development.

In conclusion, being part of a community of believers and attending church services is extremely important, but sometimes not possible. Always make it a priority and you will be blessed.