When you decide to follow Jesus, you are not following a religion, but beginning a personal relationship with God through Christ. However, your faith isn’t just a personal thing that has no implications for connection with other people.
Scripture gives six reasons why the Church—the worldwide body of Christians—is important in your faith journey.
1. Church Was God’s Idea
God wanted to have a people for himself: “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3). Jesus, too, spoke of the church. He made it clear that establishing the church was one of his primary missions and that, despite opposition, nothing would stop it: “….on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18).
2. You’re Already Part of Church
In God’s family, no one is an only child. You are part of a huge multinational, multicultural, multiethnic enterprise. The metaphor often used in Scripture is that of a body. This speaks of how utterly important each member is, including you. Each Christian needs the other parts of the body—those that are totally unlike each other—in order to see the full picture of who God is and to serve him effectively in this world. Check out I Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 for more.
3. You Have Spiritual Gifts to Offer
All believers are given spiritual gifts. These gifts are intended to be used to build other believers up. Again, Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12 have something to say about gifts, but also look at 1 Corinthians 14 and I Peter 4. The church should be a place to discover and develop your spiritual gifts. It can enable you to exercise your spiritual gifts through serving in different areas of mission and ministry in and through the church.
4. It Teaches You about Community
The Bible is filled with verses like “bear one another’s burdens” and “love one another” (read John 13:34, Romans 12:16, Galatians 5:13 and Colossians 3:13 for just a few). And the church is where you can learn to live out all these “one another” verses. You were never intended to do life alone, but rather in the company of brothers and sisters. Your transformation in Christ will start showing up in your relationships with others.
5. Church Gives You Role Models
As you interact with people across generational lines, you’ll learn what healthy, biblically-rooted relationships look like. You can find models of vitalized marriages. You can receive kindness from an older woman who fills the void your own mom was never able to fill. You can reprogram your concept of “father” (which is important for how to relate to God, your heavenly Father) when you have healthy relationships with men of integrity and purity.
6. Church is Ultimately about God
Last but not least, the primary reason the church gathers is to give God the praise he deserves. Unfortunately, that’s not always how it goes: In the same way people rate restaurants for service, presentation, and taste, they sometimes come to church with a “consumer mentality.” People wind up appraising the preacher or the band, either positively or negatively. Nonetheless, you and the rest of the church are called to “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness” (1 Chronicles 16:29).
What about you? If you’ve started going to church, have you seen any of these six reasons become a reality in your life yet?
by Mindy Meier