Can you be a Christian and not go to church?

Sadly many people’s experience of church seems to be similar to our experience of life itself – a mixed bag. There are good churches and there are bad churches. There are good cultures and bad cultures. There are good leaders and bad leaders.

So what do we do with all of this?

Firstly, let’s recognise the human component of the church.

The reason the church is frequently imperfect is because the church is made up of human beings. And of course human beings are imperfect.

It seems to me that God is incredibly relaxed about the mess we often see. Perhaps more relaxed than we are.

There is no perfect church just as there is no perfect life. So what does that mean for us?

Perhaps you’re reading this and you’re not currently part of a church. Maybe you’ve experienced some sort of abuse or pain within the very place that you expected to be safe.

I know God himself sees your pain and cares deeply for you. And I’m sorry that the church has let you down. I know what it’s like to be let down by people. And what’s so beautiful about the gospel is that we see that Jesus himself also understood this unique pain.

So let’s come back to our question at hand. Can you be a Christian and not go to church?

Honestly the answer is yes and no. It depends on a few things – so let’s dig in.

It depends on our definition of Christian

A Christian is not someone who has grown up in a Christian environment or family. Just because your parents are Christian does not make you truly a Christian.

A Christian is someone who is in Christ. In other words, you have made the decision to accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. As we do that, we surrender our life to God and we choose to live out a new life with him.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV) says it like this:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Perhaps it’s helpful to split our category of Christian into two. We have cultural Christians who largely adopt a Christian world view and morality. And we also have born again Christians who fit the above definition and have been born again into new life with Jesus.

Does becoming a born again Christian change what we do?

If we have now surrendered our life to Jesus, that means that our life now belongs to him. The same blood that was shed on the cross through which we receive forgiveness of sin is the same blood that has purchased our lives.

So now that I am surrendered to God, I must now align my life with his word and his will.

We can see clearly from scripture that God has designed human beings to live in community and this is particularly true of Christians.

1 Corinthians 3:16 (ESV) says it like this:

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

The word ‘you’ referred to above is actually the plural word for you. It’s not a word we have in English but you may be familiar with ‘vous’ in French and ‘sie’ in German.

Perhaps the closest translation we could get is the phrase, ‘you all’.

The temple that God is creating is actually us. Of course we have individual free will and autonomy but it seems clear that God’s will is togetherness and unity.

We can see this throughout the Bible with phrases such as the body of Christ to describe Christians as united in Christ.

It’s hard to imagine a scenario where God does not want each individual believer to grow together in their faith.

But this leads us to something important.

How exactly are we defining the church?

We can see local expressions of the church which tend to be organised around Sunday services and programmes. We can also see the global church.

The word church is a description of people who are called out and gathered. Today we now connote that with organised religion but that’s not necessarily the truest definition.

Is organisation good? Well yes. But power can also be abused and misused and I understand why some may have created a negative connection to the church because of it. History is sadly rich with much corruption of every organisation, including the church.

I can see that God is very gracious with those who have been hurt within the four walls of the church. I can also see that there are less organised versions of churches (think house churches, prayer meetings etc) that are still absolutely valid expressions of the church.

What is certain is that every single one of us need community to thrive. It’s God’s design. If you’re feeling disconnected, then can I encourage you to find a way to connect? It might be online through Sunday services (like ours at Reflect Church). Or with Christians in your local area.

Either way, let’s not neglect gathering. Here’s one final scripture to encourage us from Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV):

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 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.

You might like to find out about our Sunday services in London, UK or tune in online.

Can Anyone Come To Church

Can I Come To Church?

Is church just for Christians?

Every week in our church services, we welcome new people and visitors. Some have simply moved to a new city and want to find a new church home. Others have grown up with some sort of faith but are on a journey of reconnecting with God. And others have no faith at all.

Church is for everyone

Our church services are designed to be open and welcoming to any person, regardless of their beliefs. This includes anyone from another religion or no religion at all. Everyone is welcome to come and decide for themselves.

We believe that Jesus is the ultimate source of truth and that when we follow him, we will experience true life. And of course we want to share that with everyone.

But we also acknowledge that we are all on a journey and each of us have to make our own choices in our time. You can probably expect to be both encouraged and challenged in our church services.

To find out what actually happens in a church service, read our article here.

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What happens in a church service

What Happens At A Church Service?

Wondering what church looks like at C3 Reflect?

Church services are a time of celebration, fun and time with community. It’s also an opportunity to meet with God, worship together and experience his presence and power.

How long does a church service go for?

Our services are usually a little over 60 minutes. But we find people stick around after for tea, coffee and catch up. We love hosting new people and our services are open to anyone to come and check out.

What does worship look and sound like?

We start with a time of worship which usually consists of 3-4 songs for approx 20 minutes. These are most often contemporary songs written recently by churches and artists that glorify God. Whilst we’re always a big fan of hymns and traditional classics, we also recognise that new season require new songs and God is doing something fresh in every generation.

Depending on the team for the day, we’ll be using instruments much like any live music you might experience today such as acoustic guitars, keyboards, bass, synths and so on.

You might see people closing their eyes, lifting their hands and engaging in a way that is personal to them in worship. If worship is something that is new to you then you’re absolutely welcome just to stand, watch and enjoy the music.

Am I allowed to come?

Everyone is welcome to attend C3 Reflect whether they’ve been there for years or are exploring faith for the first time or looking for a church.

We take a few minutes to welcome everyone to the service after worship and let me know what’s happening in the life of the church. We may also take a few moments as we close worship to pray together and allow the Holy Spirit to encourage us.

(Wondering what to wear to church? Read the article here).

Last but not least we will have an encouraging message

Whilst the tone of our preaching is always encouraging and often fun, we are not just about inspiring or self-help but teaching the word of God (the Bible) and helping people very practically to live as followers of Jesus.

We often tackle wider themes over several weeks so that we can take our time as a community to learn together. We welcome healthy interaction and encouragement as we hear the message, take notes and apply the thoughts to our lives.

Preaching is never normally a silent or boring part of the service but a time where God can really speak to us through the speaker. Our preaching is approx 30 minutes long.

What happens next?

At the end of the preach, we will take a few moments to respond to the message together. This often involves some space for music and worship. After this, the services officially closes but most will stick around to hang out, catch up with friends over a delicious cup of coffee.

Come and join us at a Sunday service soon. We’d love to see you there!

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What Should I Wear To Church

What Should I Wear To Church?

Worried about your first time attending C3 Reflect?

The key to dressing well is all about understanding the setting. Naturally at special events such as a wedding we are bringing our best smarts. And when we’re hanging at our mates place for a game of FIFA, there’s no need to go all out.

Christianity is hugely diverse and whilst there are many different expressions across denominations and movements, what we wear to gather as church community is not something mandated by scripture but really up to the personal choice and culture of the congregation.

So what can you expect at C3 Reflect?

Our services are relaxed and informal in nature because we want every visitor and member to know that they can come to God exactly as they are.

You’ll probably find our team (including our pastors) wearing jeans, trainers or even jump suits. The most important thing for us is that you feel comfortable and you feel like you can be yourself.

Why do some traditions wear more formal clothing?

Other traditions or cultures may have a special emphasis on attire or formality as a means of expressing honour to God and this is absolutely great reason to do so. God is most interested in our heart as we come to worship him, not how we look externally.

We’d love to invite you to hang out at a Sunday service soon.

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