It’s Friday! You know what that means! THE WEEKEND!! (On summer break it isn’t quite as exciting, but still. “Weekend” is a magical word.)
So, what are your plans for the weekend? I am planning to sleep in, to hang out with Benjamin, maybe even to go hiking (although that would knock out the sleeping in plan). I also have a secret little idea of doing a breakfast picnic with my oh-so-cute new picnic basket!
On top of all of that, I am planning this weekend, like I do every weekend, to be in church. In fact, it is my most important weekend plan.
Church is more than just a place to wear itchy clothes, daydream through a sermon, and shake way more hands than can possibly be hygienic. Church is inspiring, it is encouraging, it is filling, it is strengthening. While I could give you a host of reasons why you should be really involved in a church, here is a list whittled down to five very good reasons:
1. God commands us to be a part of a church.
This one is pretty clear. Hebrews 10:25 talks about “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,” referring to the meeting together of the church. It’s not really an optional thing. It’s a command. From God.
The word “forsake” means to just quit, give up, or abandon. It’s so sad when people just choose to disobey God’s commands and then miss out on the blessings that come with obedience. So many people I know choose extra sleep, a nice brunch, or time with family above church, but when they do that, they are choosing disobedience and missing out on the blessing that is church. (I’m serious. It really is a blessing! More on that later.)
2. The church needs us.
Isn’t it great to feel needed? With church, I feel like people so often think of it as a place to get served, whether that’s a dose of encouragement, a nice atmosphere, a place to meet friends, or whatever, when in fact, church is a place where we all go to serve one another and to help each other reach the world. With any of the pieces missing, the church can’t do its job to its full extent. That includes you!
1 Corinthians 12 talks about how there are “differences of ministries, but the same Lord” (verse 5), then illustrates that in terms of the human body. Verse 21 says, “And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’” We are all needed to reach the world for Christ in our own unique ways. Without you being there as a working part of your church, the body of Christ can’t function as well. Your church can’t reach as many people without you.
As Ephesians 4 puts it, the church is “joined and knit together by what every joint supplies according to the effective working by which every part does its share” (verse 16).
There is no one who acts like you, talks like you, thinks like you. You, oh joint, supply something unique to the Church as a whole.
3. We don’t know everything.
Ephesians 4 says the purpose of having all of these people meet together to work in all of these different ways is “for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” (verses 12-13). In other words, not only does the church need us, but we need the church.
One of the big purposes of the church is the teaching of God’s Word, and since we don’t know it all, we need to be joined with other people who are diligently studying it and applying it too.
In Ephesians 4 it also talks about how the church provides teaching to keep us from turning away to wrong teachers or from getting confused. Pastors and teachers in churches have done a lot of study and they are directed by God to help us stick to His way.
4. It’s a blessing! (See, I told you I would get back to it!)
Church is a place where we can go and pray with other believers, learn about God, and talk about His goodness. Relationships built on a common love for God are the best we will ever know. The Bible says that, “if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26). If it’s a healthy, Christ following church, it will be that loving. It will be that supportive. And we will always be pointing each other to Christ.
5. We need accountability.
Not only do church members give us love, but they can point out to us, from the Bible, when we’re going wrong. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” We fix each other up and encourage each other to be sharper tools for the Lord to use. James 5:16 commands Christians to be confessing sins to each other and then be praying for each other. It’s a place full of sinners who are trying to follow God together, and so it’s a place where we can be honest and have others be straight up with us too. And we really need that sometimes…
Benjamin and I have been so blessed to be a part of churches that follow God like this. Every time we step in the door, it is a reminder that we are not alone in following Christ, and we are encouraged both by the teaching and by the examples of the stronger believers.
It’s so amazing on Sundays to look around the room and see a group of people, all kinds of different people, worshipping the same God together, the way God designed us to do. It is just beautiful.
So what is stopping you from following God’s design and His commands? What’s keeping you from being a part of church?