Why do people go to certain churches? Why do people not go to any church? There may be a number of reasons offered in answer to such questions, but at the bottom line, the list of real reasons is pretty short. As a matter of fact, I believe it boils down to really one reason, and that is whether a person believes the particular church meets a need in his, or her, life.
Ideally, a person would realize that he needs to express his worship God through corporate worship. After all, God created that need in mankind, and you see it in its most primitive form with Adam and Eve walking with God in the garden in the cool of the day. Then, you see it quickly develop, in the Bible, with Cain and Abel bringing their sacrifices before the Lord, with Abraham building altars, with the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, then finally with the development of Christian churches in the New Testament. The person, who realizes this need for corporate worship, would go to a particular church because he believed that church served to answer that need.
Less noble, yet very real, is the need for the social benefit of having a close knit circle of friends, who have in common their faith in God. The church word for it is fellowship. Surveys have consistently shown that the reason people stay at a particular church is for this very reason. They like the people there.
Then there is the need to do something. We are not saved by works, as Ephesians 2:8-9 makes plain, but verse 10 of that same passage tells us that we are saved for works. Now, there are those who put some superficial salve on this religious itch by simply attempting to some good things outside the church. Christians should certainly do good things wherever they are, but they should realize that Christ established the organized church for a specific reason, and it is His intent that all of His people be involved in it. Many people start out in a church but do not stay, because they are not given a place of meaningful service. On the other hand, those who find a place of service within the ministry of a church are much more likely to continue.
So, again I say, it comes down to needs being met. By the way, it’s the same reason that people go to bars, join civic clubs, and identify with other groups. They believe these things meet a need in their life. One of my favorite verses says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” One of His primary tools for meeting your needs is a Christ-honoring, gospel-preaching, people-loving church.