I have often heard this argument from non-churchgoing Christians, “I don’t need to go to church. Once I believed in Him, I am in his spiritual body and so I can worship him anywhere.” I think this is more a rhetorical argument than anything else.
Col 1:18 tells us “And he is the head of the body, the church.” In the original language, the word translated as ‘head’ also means ‘source’ or ‘origin.’ That is why Paul referred to Christ as “before all things.” The idea here is to remind us that Chris is the source of life in the church, through the Holy Spirit. In Eph 4, we learn that Christ has provided his people in church with gifts so that the body of his believers will be built up and God is glorified. That is why we need to belong to a local body of believers. It is a question of obedience. The fact is that although all those who have trusted in Christ as Saviour are members of the universal church, yet we also have responsibilities to the local church. As members of the body of Christ, it is our duty to build up our local body of Christ and to strengthen it. We achieve this by:
Serving. Every Christian has a ministry awaiting him or her to serve in. It may include leading children or youth groups, visiting the sick and new visitors, leading the ministry committees, etc. God has given all of us at least one talent so let us use it.
Learning. We all need to grow in our faith and be able to communicate it clearly to others. We achieve this by participating in Bible study groups and faithfully attending Bible classes and worship as well as studying the Bible on our own.
Giving. Every Christian is expected to support the budget of the church ministry. We should give cheerfully without thinking of gain. Furthermore, we should give systematically and proportionally out of our income first and not out of our leftover money after we have taken care of all our other wants and needs.
Praying. Prayer does make a difference. We should pray on our own as well as with other Christians in our community. The answer to our prayers is dependent on the One who hears it, not on how well we say it. Thus, all we need is sincerity when we approach God who delights in seeing his children approach him.
Worshipping. In corporate worship, we encounter God. This means he meets with us and directly ministers to us, strengthening our faith, making us more aware of His presence, and refreshing our spirits.
There is still much of Christ’s work that needs to be done. It is our sacred responsibility to our Master to ensure it is done. Therefore, let us pray and ask God for the wisdom to see if we have done all that our Master has expected of us.