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Why bother with church?

And other questions about why you need it and why it needs you

from 14 reviews

A short, straightforward book that explains clearly and simply what the church is and why it really matters.

Part of the Questions Christians Ask series.

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The church is widely viewed in the world at large as being outdated, boring, irrelevant and filled with backbiting hypocrites.

How different that picture is to how the Bible talks about the new family that Jesus has gathered. It is a precious bride, a sparkling jewel, a lifeboat for forgiven sinners that is precious and holy; nurturing and warm; filled with truth, friendship and all embracing, forgiving love.

Sam Allberry understands the collision between these two views, and how, even as Christian believers, we can lose sight of how truly wonderful church is and what a privilege it is to be part of.

In this brief, accessible but thorough guide to church, Sam outlines what church is and why we need it. And how, when we have got it wrong, we can move closer to what a true church should be.

Part of the Questions Christians Ask series: a range of short, simple books designed to help Christians grapple with the contemporary issues.

This title is available in braille, large print or on DAISY audio CD by contacting Torch Trust's Client Services team on 01858 438260.

Product details


  • Introduction
    1. Foundations: how to consider church
    2. Life changing: how to attend church
    3. Running: how to organise church
    4. Imperfect: how to survive church
    5. Wonderful: how to love church

Free extras


Contributors Sam Allberry
ISBN 9781909559141
Format Paperback
First published March 2016
Dimensions 110mm x 178mm x 7mm
Weight 0.08 kg
Language English
Pages 96
Publisher The Good Book Company

Other information

A great series and an excellent resource. Important issues tackled thoughtfully, carefully, thoroughly and biblically. You couldn't ask for anything more. So don't. Buy these and use them well.
- Steve Timmis, Director Acts 29 Europe


Jonathan Leeman

Editorial Director of 9Marks Ministries; author of Reverberation and The Surprising Offense of God’s Love

Your church is a miracle. If you didn't know that, this book will help you understand why. New believers and old believers with conflicted feelings about the church will especially benefit. Read this excellent book to learn how to love Christ's people better and worship God more.

Terry Virgo

New Frontiers

An excellent and hugely important book. Up-to-date, punchy, humorous but penetrating, Sam makes the case that we need to rediscover the huge relevance of the church in our Christian lives.

Kathleen B. Nielson

Ph.D, Author and Conference Speaker

This book about the church is a gift to the church. It's clear, winsome, and needed, reminding us of the great reality of the body of Christ called to live, worship, and minister together in his name until he comes. I'm grateful for this biblical call to remember who we are and what, by God's mercy, we get to be and do as his gathered people.

Independent reviews

"A delight to read"

John Edward Knox, 20 Apr 2016

The strength of the book is the skill Sam has in answering the questions with brevity, clarity, and thoroughness. … Sam doesn’t brush sin under the rug or cover up the ugliness brought into the church by sinners. He knows that people have been hurt by the church and he is gentle with them. He writes with both doctrinal conviction and pastoral care.... continue reading


Shall I Go?

Paul Spear, Evangelicals Now, 1 May 2016

The basic premise is that church is very important for every Christian! The author is concerned for those who profess faith but who distance themselves from church. This may be caused by the consumerism and individualism endemic in society, by poor biblical teaching, or by bad experiences of church life. The answer is to refocus on what the Bible teaches about the church. The book defines what a church is and outlines the characteristics of a good church. It also describes how different types of churches might be run. It gives lots of practical biblical advice on how to be a positive part of a church even with all of its good and bad points. The short section on pages 80–83 on the church as both a human and spiritual organisation is very insightful.... continue reading

Customer reviews

20 May 2024

“Biblical overview of what church is..”

(Review written for 'Why bother with church? (ebook)')

I found this a concise biblical account of what Christ's church is - His people gathered, building each other up into the fulness of Christ to His glory. Easy to read and understand.

9 Aug 2021

“Such a good read! ◡̈”

(Review written for 'Why bother with church? (ebook)')

We used this book for a church wide book club recently over a month. It was most apt since we've been meeting online for most of this year and it reminded us that we need each other even though the regulations keep us apart. This meant intentional meetups and seeing that the extra effort is definitely both worth it, and necessary for us to keep walking in the light.

Personally, I enjoyed the extra sections of each chapter that tackled FAQs. ◡̈ Thanks Sam and the team for pushing this out.

Because it's a light read of 95 pages, small enough to fit into your pocket (both the physical and e-copy ;)), short and sharp points made towards the purpose of the book, I totally recommend it!

29 May 2021


The Covid pathway has been a difficult one & not attending church made me approach this book in the hope it would ‘boost’ my rather negative feelings at the time. It was easy to read & gave me food for thought as I could identify with many of the problems raised & it gave ideas to rectify these problems. I closed the book feeling, without being part of & attending church regularly, I miss out on so much myself but also with my relationship with Jesus, it’s a no brainer!!

19 Sep 2020

“A biblical and challenging read”

Read while on a holiday I thought we might not have because of Covid, this is an "easy" read - page turner - yet is a challenging and comprehensible Bible based presentation of what "the church" really is and why it is so important for Christians to "bother" with it, stressing not only why it is important for me but also why my presence is important to my brothers and sisters in Christ, and also to those "not-yet-Christians" on the fringes.

17 Aug 2020

“An encouraging but challenging read.”

I have just finished reading Sam Allberry's little book 'Why bother with church?' (The Good Book Company, 2016). As it says on the back cover, 'This short, realistic but optimistic book explains clearly and simply from the Bible what the church really is, why it is both brilliant and frustrating, and why it is wonderful to be part of it.' And it does exactly what it says on the label; great for new Christians, longer-in-the-tooth Christians, and perhaps even for those not-yet-Christians who are a bit puzzled about what church is all about.
The book finishes with these words: 'The church is the way in which God showcases his wisdom to the spiritual realms. It is how he demonstrates the power and beauty of the gospel. Nothing else in the universe can fuse such varied people together into a new humanity. Only the person and work of Jesus can do this. When the church gathers to worship - whether in Dallas or Dubai, Durham or Delhi - the supremacy of Christ is once again being placarded across the spiritual realms.
Why bother with church? Because it is the most important show in town. What goes on when a church meets is far grander than we tend to realise.
It is God's family.
It is God's embassy in this world.
It is God's way of preaching to the spiritual world.
It is, amazingly, Jesus' bride, who will live with him in the next world.
And, in God's great mercy, through faith in Christ, you (and I) get to be a part of it and to be part of the way God builds it. And if you remember this when you get up next Sunday, you'll find yourself asking: Why on earth would I not bother with church?'

I may not fully agree with everything Sam has written but I have found this to be such a very thorough exposition of Scriptural truth by someone whose love for the church, with all its flaws, shines through. An encouraging and a challenging read.

9 Jun 2019

“Great and important book”

I found this short book to be clear and helpful. So many people, even Christians, struggle to know why being and active part of a local church is important. "Why Bother with Church" reminds us why! I have used this book in a couple of study groups, easy to read and easy to discuss.

25 Jun 2018

“lifts believers up to the right attitude to the church”

Fits the series "Questions Christian Ask" well, and in a refreshing way lifts believers up to the right attitude to the church as the body of Christ meeting to worship our God of grace and love and to serve one another as the people of God. It doesn't hide the weaknesses of churches, but provides biblical wisdom to overcome what often spoils congregations.

4 Jan 2018

“Brilliant! Concise and relevant.”

Brilliant! Concise and relevant.
For all who are thinking about going back to church or those who have been upset and have left church, those who are going to church but are unhappy and even for those who are regular committed members of a church.
I actually read this book to help me understand why Christians wouldn’t want to go to church, and found it very helpful. So really it’s a great book for everyone to read.

10 Oct 2017

“A very helpful book on an important topic ”

Sam helpfully answers questions that either I have had or have heard asked about the subject of church. He does so with engaging clear language accessible to many. A great book to give to people especially those maybe starting out on the Christian life and thinking what's church all about. The book made me have a deeper love for the church.

13 Dec 2016

“Great book, practical and helpful”

This book was suggested to me by a friend (who'd seen it but not actually read it) as I have been struggling with some aspects of church. This book was easy to read, and insightful, and really helped me adjust my thinking and remember what church is really about, as well as my responsibilities towards my local church. This book also acknowledges differences between denominations, which I found helpful. Definitely a book I think I'd read again, and recommend to friends.

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Why bother with church? | Sam Allberry |
£4.99 £4.24