7 Reasons Church is Not Optional and Non-Negotiable for Christians


According to author, speaker and Bible teacher Michelle Lesley, for Christians, being joined to a local church is not optional — it’s a must! Why? “Well, Jesus founded the church,” says Michelle. Moreover, “Jesus is the head of the church. Jesus loves the church. Jesus died for the church. Jesus is the Savior of the church. Jesus nourishes, cherishes, and sanctifies the church.” So she wonders how any Bible believing Christian could claim to love and follow Jesus “and yet cavalierly toss aside something He values so much that He laid His life down for it?” Ever considered that, brethren?

Michelle concludes: “If you really love Jesus, you’ll value the things He values, and, clearly, He values the church.”

Now listen as Michelle Lesley offers 7 reasons Christians must not forsake the assembly. She writes:

It’s a disturbing trend that’s spreading like the plague, especially among women who claim to be believers:

“I’m a Christian but I refuse to attend church.”

These aren’t women who can’t attend church due to health reasons, caring for an ill or disabled loved one, who have no other choice but to work on Sundays, or who live in an area with no reasonably doctrinally sound church to attend. They’re women who could get plugged in to a decent local church, but intentionally shun the body of Christ.

Usually, the decision to opt out of church boils down to one of two scenarios: a) a believer who was hurt by a previous church and yet isn’t ready to risk being hurt again or b) someone (often a false convert) who doesn’t grasp the concept that being joyfully joined to a local body of believers is part of what defines someone as a Christian.

I can tell some of y’all have already fired up your e-mail programs or mentally formulated a corrective comment. Hang on, and please read what I’m about to say so we’re all on the same page here. I am not saying, have never said, and will never say that attending church, joining a church, serving at a church, or being baptized into a church is what saves a person, even in part. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian. Everybody with me? Scripture is clear that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and that good works, such as church attendance, play zero part in a person’s salvation.

What I am saying is that one of the signs, or fruits, that someone is already saved is that she has a heartfelt love and affection for the things of God, which includes the gathering of the saints for fellowship, worship, encouragement, and edification. For a believer, love for the bride of Christ is a natural extension of loving Christ, Himself. She doesn’t have to be talked into attending church; there’s no place on earth she’d rather be.

We’ve all been in difficult situations with difficult people at church that can hurt, sometimes deeply- believe me, I’ve been there – and can leave us in need of taking a few Sundays off to recover, or possibly the need to change to a healthier church. But if you’ve harbored antipathy toward the church, as a whole, for years, have never taken joy in fellowshipping and worshiping with fellow believers, don’t see any particular need for gathering with the Body, or are generally apathetic in your attitude toward church, you’re in a very dangerous place, spiritually, and you need to question your salvation. Those are symptoms of being lost, not fruit of being saved.

For Christians, being joined to a local church is not optional and non-negotiable. Why? Continue reading

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19 Responses to 7 Reasons Church is Not Optional and Non-Negotiable for Christians

  1. A. Amos Love April 22, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    This author is introduced as a “Bible Teacher.”
    And teaches, folks are to be “plugged in to a decent local church…”

    But – In the Bible…
    Can anyone find one of **His Disciples?** “joined to a local church?”

    Was wondering? In the Bible?
    Did any of **His Disciples?** Ever?

    *Go to* Church?
    *Join* a Church?
    *Lead* a Church?
    *Plant* a Church?
    *Pastor* a Church?
    *Attend* a Church?
    *Tithe* to a Church?
    *Look for* a Church?
    *Teach* Go to Church?
    *Bring their friends* to Church?
    *Become members* of a Church?
    *Apply for Membership* in a Church?
    *Call themselves, Pastor,* in a Church?
    *Call themselves, Leader,* in a Church?
    *Call themselves, Reverend,* in a Church?
    *Give silver, gold, or money* to a Church?
    *Build, or buy, a building* called Church?

    *Did any of **”His Disciples?”** ever Become?
    Paid, Professional, Pastors, in Pulpits?
    Preaching, to People in Pews?
    Weak after Weak?
    In a church?

    In my antiquated KJV…
    I can NOT seem to find anyone, “joined to a local church,”
    Or any of these things…

    How can WE, His Sheep, His Disciples, be like those in Berea? Acts 17:10-11?
    Who, “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so?”

    If these things are NOT in the scriptures?

    Seems, these are things that happen in “Today’s Religious system”- “the church of man.”
    The 501 (c) 3, Non-Profit, Tax Deductible, Religious Corporations…
    That the IRS calls church.

    Should **His Disciples** call an IRS Corporation, “The Church of God?”

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **THEIR shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    • Gail April 22, 2017 at 2:01 pm #

      Well said! Couldn’t agree more.

      • Sola Scriptura April 22, 2017 at 2:26 pm #

        Very, very well said A. Amos. America has polluted the biblical concept of church to the point that we are almost all brainwashed into believing that it must be in a building with a sharp, charismatic, CEO style pastor who went to seminary (most of which are brilliantly and subtley atrocious) earning at least 80k so he can have a nice house and car…you know, like Jesus and Paul did. If I ever walk in a church and see band with attractive women in tight jeans leading worship and a guitarist prancing around stage like a rock star, it makes me want to tear my clothes in disgust. The American church is largely vile beyond comprehension. We take the world and it’s wicked, godless culture, and sprinkle a teensy bit of christian lingo on it, all while preaching a false Jesus to the lost sheep of God. It is sick and wicked, and it will burn.

        Meeting with other Bible believers in Christ and in the word is what matters. I happen to go to an independent Baptist Church in Jupiter, Florida, but I go there ONLY because the pastor preaches the scriptures with the power of the spirit. I do not like or participate in most of the man made culture and traditions that are practiced there, but it just so happens that the preacher encourages me in my life like none other through the scriptures. There is no humble-bragging about his heroic parenting or the triathlon he didn’t win but came in 2nd, and he is always there…meaning he isn’t running around speaking at other churches to promote his brand. He hasn’t written any books, but he loves and feeds his little flock. We need more men like that.

    • Shawn Hopscotch April 23, 2017 at 11:42 pm #

      That’s odd… What does the Bible say to our generation today? “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” – Revelation 18:4 (KJV) The institution that dares to call itself the “church” is not the Bride but the Whore of Babylon.The Bride is Christ-made. The “church” is man-made. The Bride obeys her Husband, Jesus Christ. The “church” obeys the religion of man. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was 9 – outside of the institution that calls itself the church. From 9 until 29, I prayed and read the Bible – studying Bible Prophesy for myself. Once I hit 29, I later attended two churches. The first church was a United Pentecostal Church but I left after six months because they categorically denied the Trinity with considerable venom towards those who believed contrary. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” – Revelation 18:4 (KJV) The next church I attended (for 10 years) was an Assemblies of God Pentecostal church, or so everybody was led to believe until there was a sudden and inexplicable name change to that church, an equally sudden affiliation with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), and an agressive push for signs-and-wonders: walking through “fire tunnels”, “soaking sessions” and “accountability cell groups”. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” – Revelation 18:4 (KJV) The teachings of these two churches did not line up with Scripture and in many cases I was told that *I* was being “too Biblical” – that I was being a Pharisee and a Sanballat . I have been forced twice now to chose between obeying the Bible or man – to be the Bride of Christ or a slave to man’s religion. THERE WILL NOT BE A THIRD TIME! I CHOOSE JESUS! What does the Bible say? “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” – Revelation 18:4 (KJV)

  2. berlorac April 22, 2017 at 12:54 pm #

    The Church is the Body of Christ. We “join” this Church when the Holy Spirit baptizes us into it.

    “Local churches,” or ekklesias, are Biblical as long as they follow the instructions that the Apostle Paul gives us concerning appointing elders (plural, not a “senior elder” or “lead elder”) and deacons.

    As for “going to church,” would Michelle Lesley have us compromise and put ourselves under false teachers just to satisfy her sense of “religious duty”? Sorry, Michelle, but you can’t convince me. You can have your traditions of men.

  3. Dave April 22, 2017 at 4:12 pm #

    This is the general belief of those in the Reformed church – works based, under the law. If you are not sitting under the teaching of a pastor, then you are following the spirit of error. Don’t ever tell them that you have been called out of the church system; they will think you have fallen away! This is why I stopped reading anything by Michelle Lesley. Plus she is a fan of John McArthur.

  4. Laura April 22, 2017 at 4:16 pm #

    There are many born again believers around the world that cannot go to a church building cause they are locked up in boxes in african countries who are whipped and beaten. who are isolated and are walking with Jesus daily who are surrounded by heretical churches and have no where to go.. Does she not know that Jesus understands this.. this woman is living in la la land.. we are living in the great day of the apostasy. we are to fellowship with Christians and the disciples fellowshipped in houses..not in a church building. I am totally isolated from sound churches but the lord has brought Christians my way online to fellowship with. The body of Christ is people not a building.. the remnant are scattered all over the world… Some in islam countries were its very very dangerous for them to go to a church… some in china or in north korea where its very dangerous to go to a church building. the lord brings believers to us in other ways..all that article did was place a big boulder of guilt on people who are ill. who are being persecuted. who are in danger of going to a building.. and also even in america where she is from its getting harder and harder to find real believers.. this woman is in the land of nod. im sorry if this comes off harsh but im sick of silly women like this making believers who love Jesus feel guilty cause they cant get to a building.. the lord bless you all

    • Manny1962 April 22, 2017 at 9:55 pm #

      Well said Laura, we forget how many true Christians are living in countries where there’s gathering, on the pan of death, mainly all of the Middle East except for Israel.

  5. Maggie April 22, 2017 at 8:05 pm #

    I think the author gives good scriptural reasons for meeting with other Christians in a church body, but I’m not sure who she is addressing because it sounds like she is giving a reprimand. Is she correcting the rebellious lone ranger who cannot fit into any church body? Born again Christians WANT to meet with other Christians and grow under a good teacher-pastor who rightly divides the Word of God. A scripturally sound church is hard to find.

    Personally, I questioned my spiritual standing after attending a local church for many years because I felt lukewarm about it, even though I knew I “should” go to church. I liked the people there and the teaching was not “unscriptural,” so was my attitude the problem? It wasn’t until I attended another church with good biblical teaching that I realized what I had missed all those years. I had been starving and didn’t know it. In hindsight, I now understand my old church had been purpose driven/seeker friendly for many years. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, but I finally woke up. Thank God.

  6. Manny1962 April 22, 2017 at 9:52 pm #

    I think all these posters are correct, the majority of “churches” are corrupt, the Bible is clear, we are to meet with fellow believers as we share each other’s burdens and fellowship, but I’ve yet to find a passage that says we must be in a building being taught by a man, who given the Great Apostasy we are living under, is probably a wolf in the fold.

    God is calling out His bride from churchianity, that’s why the massive exodus from the corruption that is churchianity, this was foretold to happen, many small groups, home groups, clubs and even online sites like this one have a vibrant membership where the leader is the word of God, not the word of man. Things will progress faster and faster as the The Lord’s return grows nearer. Just watch.

  7. ALET MACCALLUM April 23, 2017 at 1:10 am #

    I was in a Bible based church that taught the righteousness of Christ, then slowly things started changing and it became a pastor led church for those too lazy to search the Word.

    On doing my routine undigested reading of the bible in a year, Genesis 6 hit me between the eyes, why we’re we never taught this strong teaching and it’s warnings. As I delved it hit me between the eyes, were we actually TAUGHT the bible anymore.

    Sermons seem to be lucky dips preached, not the word of God TAUGHT? With the assistance of Kindle, I have been able to conduct more in depth studies of what GOD wants, not what we want and my goodness me have we strayed away.

    Thank our Father God and His Son Jesus Christ that we have the Holy Spirit here to teach us and to reveal Christmas to us who reveals God to us.

    The awesome fear of GOD has been lost in most churches, the Holy Spirit is for entertainment purposes and Jesus is just our friend. Where is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords the mighty awesome almighty God.

  8. Sharon Peterson April 23, 2017 at 3:41 am #

    In response to this article, I agree with those who have responded in the above comments. I’d like to add that most of these so called Christian churches can’t even get the day of worship correct. It’s supposed to be the 7th day, Saturday not Sunday. I’m in my 70’s now and at the early age of 7 G-d laid it on me that Sunday is the wrong day for worship. It wasn’t until I was in my 50’s that I found a good Saturday worshiping church. Eventually G-d led me out of there too and and yes Genesis 6 did more than hit me between the eyes. So did discovering the actual Hebrew roots.

    Yes there are false teachings everywhere but with prayer and study G-d will let you rightly divide the truth from fiction.

    In the past 2 or 3 years I’ve learned more than I was ever taught in church. And church left me too with a feeling there has to be more. Yes I prayed and prayed about NOT gong to or being a part of a church group. I prayed for G-d to lead me and HE has taught me more than my mind could have imagined.

    I’ve had it with churches who are trying to be politically correct and who opt for newer versions of the Bible that eliminate much. I love my King James Bible and I love the Cepher Bible.

    What is amazing is that even over the centuries much was also eliminated from the Torah. If you don’t believe me get a copy of the Aramaic and Palestinian Targum that was the first known translation of the Torah into Aramaic.

    G-d said in the end times all would be made known. The book of Enoch was specifically written for people in the end times and I pray that more people will have their eyes opened and be prepared for what is really about to happen. Daniel was told to seal up the scroll of prophecies because it was for the end times.

    It’s a miracle that all the library burning’s through history did NOT manage to completely stifle the world from knowing what they were trying to take away from the true remnant of G-d’s people.

    Christ didn’t come ONLY to save us he came to rid the world of evil. Our King of Kings is about to do just that.

    • Gail Owens April 23, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

      Gosh, my thoughts exactly, I got convicted over the 7th day Sabbath years ago, sadly the local SDA Church isn’t evangelical, so I can’t attend.

      Too much tradition in the Bible, most of the Churches there are only Sunday Christians.

      In the UK the Church is in a dire state.

      I was hopeful when a new Calvary Chapel plant set up, 20 miles away, but sdaly it is very ecumenical!

      • Sharon Peterson April 24, 2017 at 4:27 am #

        G-d’s blessings on you Gail. Keep your eyes on Jesus and pray that he will lead you to the right sites so you can continue to grow in faith and knowledge. One smaller Christian site here that I like has said that they have over the past 4 or 5 years received 20,000 emails from people saying that they have dropped out of church and are disgusted with their pastors and teachings. If you can get YouTube over there see if you can find Nowyouseetv. They have many good programs and interviews and study programs. There are several others as well. G-d will keep you in his hands and lead you.

      • Marie April 24, 2017 at 3:54 pm #

        Yeah, beware of Calvary Chapel. We came out of there with much abuse & are currently healing from it. We now listen to solid, Biblical teachings of the Word as a family and have more peace in our home than ever (even with teenagers!!). John 8:31-32 …the TRUTH has set us free!

  9. berlorac April 23, 2017 at 10:22 am #

    Michelle Lesley cites Hebrews 10:24-25. This is always used to bash those who no longer “attend church.” Because of a lack of Biblical and historical knowledge, this passage of Scripture is twisted to mean something it doesn’t say.

    She then says, [Being joined to the church is an indicator of salvation]. She fails to understand that the Church is the Body of Christ. Nowhere is Scripture are we told to “join a church.” This is a Romish idea. She cites 1 John 2:19 and says, [Forsaking the church is an indicator that you’re not saved…Want to make it plain that you’re not of Christ? Step one is to leave the church.] This is one of the worst interpretations of Scripture I’ve ever seen! Folks, read the passage. Understand what John is teaching here. He’s not scolding people for leaving the “local church.” She is saying that those who no longer participate in the institutional “church” are not saved and are antichrists.

    Then she says, […God established a hierarchical structure of ecclesiastical authority and placed the responsibility for administering Scripture and the sacraments with the church, not isolated individuals.] NO! Sacraments? A Romish word! Where do you find in the Bible that there was a hierarchical structure wherein a man was presiding over the Lord’s Supper? It’s not there, folks!

    Then she says you can’t love, forgive, comfort, or serve one another unless you “go to church.” She says we can’t do these things [outside the church because they were meant to be practiced first and foremost within the church.] It should be evident to all that these things can and do happen regularly outside of a church building. Let’s see, umm, well, it’s Thursday, so I can’t help you. You’ll have to wait until Sunday when we can go over to Aquila and Priscilla’s house. That’s the only place we can love one another.

    • Manny1962 April 23, 2017 at 11:45 am #

      Amen B!, Amen….. I found a “Romish” twist to her argument, legalistic and unbiblical.

    • Maggie April 23, 2017 at 12:52 pm #

      It is essential to understand that the church is the gathering of believers, and not the church building or the institutional church. The office of pastor is scriptural, but one who is mature in faith and not corrupted by current teachings is rare.

  10. A. Amos Love April 24, 2017 at 10:16 am #

    This author is introduced as a “Bible Teacher.”
    And, in her original article, teaches…

    “7. Sheep Need Shepherds”

    “…We need the protection of the sheep pen,
    the brotherhood of the flock,
    and **the leadership of our shepherds,** our pastors,
    **to help guide us.**

    “…That is one reason He established the church
    and created the position of pastor.”

    1 – But – In the Bible, Jesus taught…
    WE, His Sheep, **His Disciples,** have “ONE” leader – Christ. Mat 23:10 NASB.
    And, WE, His Sheep, **His Disciples,** are NOT to be called “leaders.”

    And, in the Bible, His Sheep, **His Disciples,** must have believed Jesus…
    Because, NOT one of His Sheep, **His Disciples** called themself “leader.”
    NOT one of His Sheep, **His Disciples** called another Disciple, “leader.”

    2 – But – In the Bible, Jesus taught…
    WE, His Sheep, **His Disciples,** Jesus is the “ONE” Shepherd. John 10:16 NASB

    And, in the Bible, His Sheep, **His Disciples,** must have believed Jesus…
    Because, NOT one of His Sheep, **His Disciples,** called themself shepherd.

    NOT one of His Sheep, **His Disciples,** took the “Title” shepherd. Or pastor.
    NOT one of His Sheep, **His Disciples,** were Hired as a shepherd. Or pastor.
    NOT one of His Sheep, **His Disciples,** were ordained as a shepherd. Or pastor.

    3 – But – In the Bible…
    Jesus taught, WE, His Sheep, **His Disciples,**
    The Spirit of truth, he will **guide you into all truth.** John 16:13 NASB

    Hmmm? “7. Sheep Need Shepherds???”

    WE, His Ekklesia, His Called Out Ones, His Body, His Church, His Sheep…
    Already have, The “ONE” Shepherd, The “ONE” Leader, the “ONE” Teacher…

    His name is…

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    And other sheep I have, which are NOT of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}