I have no doubt about my uncle's faith, and he's one of the finest men I know. But he's a very shy person and never goes to church. He says he just doesn't like crowds, and gets all the spiritual nourishment he needs by watching church services on television. Is he wrong?


I’m thankful for your uncle’s faith, and for the way it is reflected in his character. As Jesus said, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit. … By their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:18, 20).

At the same time, the easiest path in life isn’t necessarily the best path — and I can’t help but wonder if this could be the case with him. What I mean is this: Right now it’s easy for him not to go to church, because that agrees with his personality. To put it another way, it would be a challenge for him to get involved in a church; it might even be uncomfortable (at least at first). As a result it’s simply easier for him to avoid it.

But think what he misses. First, he misses the spiritual lessons he could be learning from others. The pastor’s sermon is important — but so are the “sermons” we gain from the example and the wisdom of others in the church. In addition, he is missing the opportunity to be part of God’s work through a church — through his giving, his prayers, even his involvement.

However, I hope your uncle will overcome his reluctance for another reason: He not only needs other believers — but they need him. They need his example, and they need the spiritual lessons God has taught him over the years. Pray for him, and urge him to reconsider his decision to avoid church.