What should a Christian do if he/she lives in an area where there is no church to attend?

Question: “What should a Christian do if he/she lives in an area where there is no church to attend, no body of believers to fellowship with?”

There are many areas of the world, such as China, where many restrictions are placed on Christians in regard to when, where and how they may worship. In some countries, Christian worship in any form is not permitted and some repressive governments arrest and kill Christians simply for declaring or exercising their faith. For Christians who live in such areas, considerable effort must be expended to ensure they will continue to grow and mature in the faith while away from any kind of church atmosphere and in a country hostile to God. 

For the Christian in a country that allows possession of a Bible or studies on various books or topics of the Bible, diligent daily study of the Word is essential, especially if fellowship with other Christians isn’t possible. It’s essential for those Christians to carve out time each day to study God’s Word and spend time in prayer with Him, asking Him to reveal to them what He wants them to learn and the strength to apply it each day. Prayer is a most crucial component in the Christian life in situations like this and should not be neglected, not even for a day. For those in countries where Bibles are outlawed, if there is open internet access, numerous websites that contain whole word-for-word versions of the Bible are invaluable. There are even online fellowship groups for believers to meet and encourage one another. 

Finding other believers in the area can lead to starting a quiet, underground home group where believers get together weekly to study God’s Word and pray with and for one another. The home church movement in China produced a strong and vibrant community of Christian faith in an atmosphere of the worst repression and persecution. Those who started underground home groups in Middle Eastern countries have found a tremendous hunger for God’s Word among English-speaking, foreign workers living in their area. These faithful believers rotated the meetings each week, kept it to word of mouth only, and grew tremendously in their faith during these difficult times. 

However a Christian chooses to maintain a close relationship with the Lord while in isolation from other believers, God will encourage them and give them His strength. Believers have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit who resides within us (Ephesians 1:13-14) for exactly these types of situations. The history of Christianity is filled with stories of believers who maintained strong faith under the worst persecution and isolation imaginable. The power of the Holy Spirit within the hearts of believers is never to be underestimated.

Recommended Resource: The Church: Why Bother? by Philip Yancey.

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