Going to Church
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20
Do You Have to Go to church?
You don't have to go to church to be a Christian. Most Christians who are active about their faith do go to a church of one kind or another. If you're serious about being a disciple of Jesus, sooner or later you'll probably want to at least try going to church.
For Catholics, a church has to be an officially recognised part of the overall Roman Catholic Church. For Protestants however there are no such restrictions, and no official requirements for a church. Even two or three people who meet together to read the Bible, pray, talk about Christ, and so on, can count as a church. It's not about having a building. In countries where Christianity is illegal, church usually means secret meetings in people's houses and other indoor or outdoor locations that aren't church buildings at all. So don't think that "church" is not for you if the usual types of church services just aren't your thing.
Having said that, it will be much better if your church has at least one long-term believer and you aren't all trying to figure out everything yourself just from reading the Bible and from YouTube. Though technically you could start a church this way, it's usually just a lot easier and better to have someone in real life to learn from.
Reasons for Going to Church
Charles Spurgeon gives a few reasons for going to church below, while pointing out that neither the church nor ourselves are going to be perfect:
Give yourself to the Church. You that are members of the Church have not found it perfect and I hope that you feel almost glad that you have not. If I had never joined a Church till I had found one that was perfect, I would never have joined one at all, and the moment I did join it, if I had found one, I should have spoiled it, for it would not have been a perfect Church after I had become a member of it. Still, imperfect as it is, it is the dearest place on earth to us —
My soul shall pray for Zion still,
While life or breath remains;
There my best friends, my kindred dwell,
There God my Savior reigns.
All who have first given themselves to the Lord, should, as speedily as possible, also give themselves to the Lord’s people. How else is there to be a Church on the earth? If it is right for anyone to refrain from membership in the Church, it is right for everyone, and then the testimony for God would be lost to the world.
As I have already said, the Church is faulty, but that is no excuse for your not joining it, if you are the Lord’s. Nor need your own faults keep you back, for the Church is not an institution for perfect people, but a sanctuary for sinners saved by Grace, who, though they are saved, are still sinners and need all the help they can derive from the sympathy and guidance of their fellow Believers.
The Church is the nursery for God’s weak children where they are nourished and grow strong. It is the fold for Christ’s sheep — the home for Christ’s family.
What Happens in a Church Service?