Is there any non-churching denomination?

Is there any Christian denomination or tradition that does not believe in the necessity of congregational activity? Most denominations seem to believe that attending services and congregational fellowship are part of the Christian life, not something voluntary or to be done only if convenient. Are there denominations that do not believe this, that place most (if not all) religious and spiritual activity in the hands of the believer and God?


It occurs to me that by useing the term denomination you are describing congregational activity. The possible exception might be the Quakers. I’m not familiar enough to say for sure. Perhaps Liberal can tell us.

Even the Quakers have meetings.

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a single organized Christian denomination or even a sect that doesn’t have some kind of group service or observance of some kind. If there are any, how on earth can they be organized?

I do believe that at least some Quakers fall in the category of “encouraged but not mandated”. Since they recognize no official pastor-figure and believe (overall) that God speaks to everyone through the quiet voice inside, there is no necessity in going to meetings to find it.

If an individual chose to read the Bible on their own, and do what they felt the Bible told them to, I would think that would count. But there wouldn’t really be a name for it.

BTW, does the Bible say anything about attending church, or is that more just tradition?

No, I don’t believe it does. It’s one of many man made traditions.

The earliest Christians are recorded as “meeting together in the temple courts” (Acts 2:46) on a daily basis, and many of the epistles contain passages encouraging believers to meet regularly (e.g. Heb 10:25) or talking about how to behave when meeting together (e.g. James 2:2, 1 Co 14:26). I don’t think it was anything that ever needed to be “legislated”, but happened naturally - people had a significant experience of God and gravitated to meet with others who shared their experience. It was only during the era known as Christendom (after Constantine made Christianity the state religion), when everyone born in a Christian country was assumed to be a practicing believer, that the expectation of going to church arose.


There are of course some members of certain denominations who never meet with others, such as Catholic hermits. I also read of a cult a while back whose adherents live completely alone, depending on the charity of the public – quite unusual for a cult. It had rather a generic name, like Christians for Jesus or something but might be googleable if anyone can remember the exact name.

In Acts, the Apostles & the believers arround them met sometimes daily, but at least weekly, for worship, teaching and “breaking bread” (probably Communion).
Jesus told Peter & the rest of the Twelve that on the Rock of his confession, Jesus would build His “assembly” (ekklesia, “called-out grouping”). As the Christian message spread, the Apostles organized the believers into local assemblies, appointing Elders over them. And for the most part, when Paul, John, James, Peter and Jude wrote their episitles, they wrote to the “assemblies”. Essentially, the New Testament acknowledges no such being as a Christian who will not assemble with fellow believers for worship, teaching and Communion.

I was going to say Unitarian Universalists. Even though they have church buildings, many congregations suspend services from the late spring to the early fall. However, many don’t recognize Unitarian Universalists as “Christian” anymore.

Maybe the “religious left” of 35 years ago – Jesus freaks in the late 1960s? Not really a denomination, but certainly a movement of the era.