There are many reasons to go to church as a Christian: it was the example given to us in the New Testament and there are numerous scriptures (such as Hebrews 10:24-25) that encourage us to gather as believers. Or there is Paul’s writing in 1 Corinthians 12 that compares a beautifully diverse community of believers to the segments of a body. When we each bring our unique gifts together we form a strong, whole and healthy community.
Nevertheless, church attendance among Christians has steadily decreased over the past 20 years. And the reasons aren’t straight forward. I personally have multiple friends and family members who are serious about their faith, but for reasons varying from work schedules to young children haven’t been able to invest in a church community.
In addition to attendance naturally decreasing over the past two decades, we also have the dilemma of living in a world that physically going to church is now not allowed.
So the question becomes increasingly relevant: how can you continue to grow your faith when you don’t have a home church? Thankfully, though church is an important part of Christan life, it isn’t the only way to stay strong and grow your faith.
1. Friendship with God
This means connection. At the end of the day, Christianity is first and foremost about a relationship with God. The essence of Jesus’ sacrifice was so that there would be no distance between us and Himself. Setting aside time to connect with God can be challenging, especially for families with young children. But one of the perks of God being omniscient and omnipresent is we can connect with Him literally anywhere and at any time! Treat God like a friend—spend time with Him, talk with Him, ask Him questions, invite Him into moments of your everyday life and He will meet you there.
This doesn’t have to look like putting on a certain kind of Christian music or singing, although if that helps you connect, go for it! Worship can be stirred up in many ways. Maybe getting out in the beauty of nature stirs your heart to worship. Perhaps making a list of what you have to be grateful for moves your heart. We’re all wired differently, figure out what draws your heart into worship and make it a practice. We were created to connect to the heart of God and worship helps us get to that place of connection. It is what transforms us by placing our eyes on His “higher ways” (Isaiah 55:9).
3. Get into the Bible
The effects of spending time in the Bible are powerful. A recent study by the Center for Bible Engagement showed that people who spent time in scripture four or more times a week saw significant changes in their lives. These changes included feelings of loneliness dropping 30%, anger issues dropping 32% and bitterness in relationships dropping 40%. Whoa. Talk about motivation with these stats!
Not only is regular Bible reading a way to grow spiritually, but it also has measurable effects on quality of life. If you find yourself feeling unmotivated, indifferent or even resistant to reading the Bible, it’s worth digging into and understanding what belief is forming that reaction. Especially when there is so much to gain!
4. Keep investing in the spiritual relationships you have
We weren’t designed to be isolated—we thrive when in community. So when you don’t have a church community in your life, it’s so important to invest in the spiritually grounded friendships. Take an inventory of your relationships: what friends do you have with evidence of good fruit in their lives? What friends are equally willing to speak encouragement and truth into your life—even when it’s hard? Having several relationships you can count on for encouragement and accountability is key to not stagnating. As Proverbs 27:17 puts it, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Relationships with depth require investment, but the return on that investment is worth it!