Is it necessary to meet in a church building?

There is no evidence anywhere in the New Testament that church attendance in a church building is required for the proper worship of God. One has to wonder, then, why so much money has been spent on building churches to meet in, especially when Acts 7:48 and 17:24 both say, “the most High does not dwell in temples made with (human) hands.”

On the other hand, doesn’t Hebrews 10:25 say we should “not give up meeting together”? And how can you do that without a building, especially in the middle of winter?

But when the church began there were no official buildings for that first crop of Christians to meet in. And the Holy Spirit didn’t tell them to construct or meet in buildings either. What the Holy Spirit did inspire was the desire to meet together, but how did they do it without a building?

To begin with, in Acts 2:46, they met every day in “the temple courts,” none of which were enclosed buildings. Solomon’s Porch, their most likely place of meeting, was open to the public. So they didn’t feel the need to isolate or lock themselves away in a “consecrated” spot or building. 

So where did the idea of Christians having to meet in consecrated buildings come from? Is it a throwback to the Old Testament, perhaps? David, for instance, wanted a proper building for God to dwell in, which God sanctioned but he never required or commanded it, nor did he command any other building or temple to be built. It was also a God-given custom for the Israelites to meet on specific days at places of his choosing (Deuteronomy 12:11). But Jesus changed all that in John 4:20-24 when he told the Samaritan woman at the well that God was no longer into “holy places” anymore, because “true worshippers” would now be “worshipping the Father in Spirit and in Truth.”

Do Christians no longer need to meet together at all, then? Well, the very meaning of ekklesia, the word for “church” in the New Testament, means getting together to “reason” things out (Acts 18:4,19 and 19:8-10), involving lots of dialogue and discussion, everyone involved (Acts 15:22) – just like the good old days in Acts 2:42 when they all got together to study and discuss the apostles’ teaching.

But how much of that happens in a typical “church service” today? Is it the building, then, that’s become “the church,” or what ekklesia originally meant?  

One thought on “Is it necessary to meet in a church building?

  1. We can take our cue from Jesus. He taught the people wherever he happened to be—whether it was in the temple, or in the synagogues, or in public places, or in someone’s house, or in an open field, or by the sea, or on the mount, or in a garden, or in the upper room….. He was found preaching wherever he went.

    After Pentecost, the Apostles and the early church followed in the same manner throughout the known world. During the times of intense persecution, specifically in Rome, they even met in the catacombs—the “place of the dead.”

    “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). The place doesn’t matter, it’s the HEART that matters.


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