Three Reasons You Belong in Church

For a Christian, attending church is not optional. I’m often told by people who sincerely believe they are Christians that they don’t belong to a church or attend services regularly. Their reasoning goes something like this:

“I don’t need to go to church to worship; my faith is a private matter.”

“I visited this church my friend invited me to, and I felt like I was at a concert, with all the loud music and the TV screens! That’s not my idea of church.”

“Well, I’d go to church, but Sunday is the only day I have to sleep late” (or, “do my chores,” “relax” … you get the idea).

If any of these statements sound like something you’ve said and you’ve stayed with me to this point, allow me to share with you a Biblical understanding of the role of the church in a Christian’s life, and why you should make it a priority to become involved in a church you can attend regularly.

What Does the Bible Say?

To begin with, our faith is really not a private matter. Let’s go back to the Scriptures to see why not. The Letter to the Hebrews (and by extension, to Christians today) says:

And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another… Hebrews 10:24-25

Did you get that? One reason we are to “assemble together” in corporate worship (that is, in church) is so that we can encourage each other “to love and good deeds.” Here’s why that’s important: as Christians we are called to do more than give intellectual assent to the existence of God or the deity of Jesus Christ—we are told over and over in the Scriptures to love one another. Jesus Himself said: “This I command you, that you love one another.” (John 15:17)

Christ intended for the members of His church to serve one another with the gifts and talents He gave to each of us. They weren’t given to us for keeping to ourselves, or to use only for personal profit. Instead, “…we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16; emphasis mine)

If you’re not actively functioning as part of a church body, there’s a church somewhere that’s missing the body part you were designed to provide!

There’s Strength in Numbers

It’s not fashionable to talk about the devil but here’s the truth: God has an enemy. His name is Satan. His greatest desire is to keep you from experiencing the love of God, and his stock-in-trade is deception. The truth is, if you’re not attending church you’re in mortal danger. Just like a young animal that strays from its herd becomes easy prey for an enemy on the prowl, so those of us who try to walk alone are easily deceived. Separated from the body of Christ, we’re missing out on God’s design for us to be fitted into His body. Our lives become so much richer when we’re in step with His divine plan!

We’re Saints, Not Perfect People

Are you staying away from church because you don’t want to be like “those” Christians, holier than thou, thinking they’re perfect when they’re not? That’s another one of those deceptive half-truths that is the hallmark of the devil. Don’t let this deception keep you from church! There’s no place in the Bible that says Christians are perfect or that God expects them to be. In fact, it says just the opposite; “all have sinned and fall short” of God’s standard of perfection (see Romans 3:23). That’s why we need Jesus, who went to the cross and bore our sins away.

If you aren’t currently actively involved in a church body, I beg you to make the effort to find a church to belong to. Just like you don’t have to marry the first person you date, you don’t have to settle in the first church you visit. By all means visit different churches until you find one that makes you feel at home. Pray that you will find a church where you belong. You’ll know when you’ve found your church home!

Deeper Reflection

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly… Romans 12:4-6

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