As a Christian, I have worshiped in numerous places for a variety of reasons. When I was new to the faith I didn’t always understand why there is such variety in places of worship. This is why I have decided to list and explain all the places that Christians participate in worship.
Where do Christians worship? Christians worship in a variety of places including local churches, house churches, conferences, concerts, and within the community. Christians can worship at any place and at any time. There are no regulations about where Christians are permitted to worship.
Let’s dig deeper into the locations of worship. There is a Biblical basis for many of the places we worship, as well as different reasons why we worship where we do.
One of the most common places for Christians to worship is within local churches. The “church” is the overall Body of Christ throughout the world. This means that all who believe in Christ as their savior are added to the family of God. This aspect of the church well advances the construction of a local church. However, “a church” is a local gathering of believers.
In most areas of the world, there are established buildings that are called churches. These buildings can vary in size and attendance. A church can be as small as a few people or as large as thousands of people. The format and style of the buildings don’t matter since there is no basis that all churches must follow in appearance.
Why Local Churches?
Christians gather for worship in local churches because they are convenient. More people are able to attend church when there is a church in their area. Additionally, the Early Church met locally with its believers.
The idea of an established church building comes from the concent of the Synagogue and temple that the Jews worshiped in. Christianity formed from Jewish ancestry. Therefore, early believers met in the synagogue and temple to preach to non-believers and to strengthen one another.
Acts 2:46 explains, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” Additionally, the concept of a local meeting place of worship was not uncommon in other cultures and religions.
Another place that Christians worship today is within houses. This can either be because the church meeting itself gathers in a house. Or, it can include additional meetings outside of the established church. For example, many established churches offer small group gatherings. These gatherings are hosted by members of the church within their homes.
Christians worship in homes because it models the Early Church. The Early Church met daily to encourage one another and to spur one another on for the work of Christ. Furthermore, they ate meals together and went about everyday life together. This is partly why established churches today follow a similar model.
Why House Churches?
The gospel was never intended to be individualistic. Instead, it was intended to be spread and developed within a community. God has always desired unity, therefore, the gospel was intended to bring about the most unity. It was a cause for gathering, working together, supporting one another, and bridging the gap between Gentiles, Jews, slaves, masters, men, and women.
Acts 2:42-45 states, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.”
Additionally, the modern church continues to meet within homes due to persecution. In some countries, it is illegal to be Christian. There are real threats to Christians. This causes Christians to meet in secret or in small groups. An established church with members would be too vulnerable in same place in the world.
This same reason caused many early believers to meet in homes. They too were facing persecution. In both cases, meeting in homes makes it easier and faster to spread the gospel and to disciple others. It takes time to build an established church. In some areas of the world, the church is spreading too rapidly. Lastly, established buildings cost money that not all communities can afford.
An additional place for worship is within conferences. Conferences are extremely popular in Western culture. This popularity has influenced the church. Conferences are convenient for training and gathering large amounts of believers at once. Typically, there are numerous speakers, worship leaders, and sessions that give resources and discipleship to believers.
Conference style meetings also occur outside of Western culture. However, they tend to look and function differently. Many training sessions have been happening throughout the world. Especially in underdeveloped places, such as Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
These meetings quickly train believers and leaders to disciple others. They focus on personal development, but also on practical ways to spiritually develop an area and the individuals within it.
Conferences don’t necessarily have a Biblical basis. They are, however, extremely helpful to spread the gospel, give tools for ministry, and wisdom of scripture in mass portions. In the time it takes to reach thousands of people individually or within smaller groups, a conference can reach all of them in a day or two.
Additionally, we do see in scripture that apostles and disciples were trained. Spiritual gifts were imparted by the laying on of hands. Apostles and disciples gathered to discuss theology and events that were taking place. Leaders gathered in churches to give instruction and to worship together.
Christian concerts are usually similar to conferences. Both typically include a presentation of the gospel or some type of witnessing. They also tend to feature worship. Chrisitan concerts can take place in any part of the world. They can be small or extremely large. Prominent worship leaders and popular churches often lead the worship. There are Christian music artists who perform at concerts.
Christian concerts are similar to secular conferences. They include lights, effects, and at times confetti and other things of the sort. Crowds may dance, sing, and interact with the musical leaders.
Concerts are often used as a ministry tool. Free or inexpensive concerts provide a church experience outside of the church. Many people are too uncomfortable to attend church but they may attend a concert. Concerts are also opportunities for believers to worship alongside other believers. They can be used as platforms for ministries, fundraisers, or the spread of the gospel.
Within scripture, there is not an example of concerts. Despite this, believers have found them to be fruitful ways to build faith in Christians and to stir up faith in unbelievers.
Believers meet in community. The term community can either allude to community buildings and locations. Groups of believers who cannot afford their own building will rent out community space within schools, or libraries. They also meet in public spaces when allowed to witness.
It can also indicate a collective gathering of people within a community. Bible colleges gather together in their community to worship. Small towns gather their community. A community is a group of people within the same location or vocational area.
Meeting in a community is beneficial to develop the community. It is also a cost-effective alternative to an established church. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity to reach out to unbelieving community members. When the church steps outside of its four walls, greater impact occurs. The church was never commanded to develop a set group of believers and settle. It was commanded to go out into the world to reach the lost.
The Secret Place
Aside from collective worship, personal worship is a crucial part of a Christian’s life. Because Christians can worship at any time and at any place, they often worship alone. Some dedicate a certain place within their house where they meet with God on a regular basis. For some, this is called a prayer closet or prayer room.
Other believers like to spend time in nature and worship God there. Playing worship music, praying, or singing in the car is another way that people spend time with God. The fact of the matter is that worship can occur in any place. It can include silent prayer in public spaces or verbal prayers in a secluded place. Within the secret place, Christians prayer, read scripture, meditate on God’s word, journal, and partake in musical worship.
Why the Secret Place?
Jesus addressed the issue of public prayers seeking the approval of men. In Matthew 6:6 He commanded, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Many people follow this example and spend much of their time in secret before God and not before men.
Christians also meet in private because their relationship with God is dependent on themselves, not on other people. In order to draw near to God, it must be a personal decision and action. Just because a pastor, priest, or spiritual leader is close to God, doesn’t mean they can create that relationship for other people.