I recently wrote, “Seven Things Christians Can Do in 2015… Besides Go to Church,” because many people go to church but are not practicing basic disciplines outside of church. Check it out.
However, there are also those who self-identify as Christian, but do not go to church. If you are a stay-at-home Christian, here are some things I think you are missing.
1. Gathering around Scripture
Since the beginning… when people were meeting in houses and next to streams… we read Scripture together. In fact, having Scripture available in our language (and that we are literate:) is a pretty modern innovation! You may need to try a new or different church, but gathering around the Word of God is a basic element of the Christian life, and for good reason. It has historically carried people through persecution, war, and the worst of personal crises.
At church we love to talk. Sometimes we say stupid things, but we’re learning! Essentially, we’re asking, “What does Scripture say and what does it mean for us?” This is what I call doing everyday theology. We’re not focusing simply on doctrine and beliefs (at least at my church). We’re asking what practical difference our faith makes in life.
The simplest but maybe most meaningful reason to go to church is being with others. Sure you can hang out in other places, but church can allow us to go deeper. At church we can listen, encourage, and build each other up. We might even be able to keep each other out of trouble! Most of all, this can include people of different ages, race, and backgrounds.
4. The Table
You can read at home, listen to a podcast, even pray with your family. But if you are a stay-at-home Christian, one big thing you are missing is the Lord’s Table. Regardless your belief about the Lord’s Supper (Christ is in, with, or represented by the bread and wine)… this is an amazing time of corporately saying, “Christ is our Lord.” It’s just not the same by yourself at home!
Church attendance is in decline in many places. Sure, church leaders could reason that people don’t value church anymore (and I really don’t disagree). But, I think the more productive question is, “what value is the church offering?” And, “How do we let Christians know there is reason to come back?”
In my own experience, I have found tremendous value in these four things and more (I didn’t mention the singing:). Honestly, it pains me to see you miss out. If I can help you go back to church, just let me know!