I have a Christian friend who isn’t interested in going to church. As the son of a nationally-known pastor, this might seem surprising.
He grew up in the church, attending so many church events and meetings that he felt like he lived there. In fact, he has very few childhood memories that don’t include the church in some way. And since he believes the church didn’t contribute to his spiritual growth in any significant way, he no longer views it as necessary.
But going to church and living in a community of faith aren’t necessarily the same. Having grown up in the midst of church life as well, I see a looming difference.
Today, many in the church try to replace community with church attendance, assuming the two ideas are interchangeable. If you’re on the fence about getting involved in a local church, I urge you to stop going to a building every Sunday and instead become a true member of the community inside.
Here are two reasons you should stop going church and get involved in the community it offers.
God lives in community
The Triune God lives in community. As a Trinity of persons, God eternally exists as three persons in One. He is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Yet, he is One God.
The community within the triune Godhead is perfect. Despite each having a unique role, each member of the Trinity is equal in worth and value. There is no disharmony, struggle for independence, or one-up-manship.
You and I are image bearers of this Triune God. We were designed and shaped by the triune God to exist in community with others, just as He exists in perfect community within Himself.
God blesses His community
The church is not a building. It is a body of people – Christ’s body (Eph. 1:23; 4:4).
At the moment a soul is snatched from sin by Christ’s blood, they are brought into the family of God. They are bound together with many souls, gifted for service, and commissioned to bring others to the table.
So, when we simply ‘attend’ a church service without connecting with those around us, we fail to glimpse the glories of the community of Christ.
It is not enough to sit in a Sunday School class. It is not enough to stand and sing a few worship choruses, and then slide out the back so you don’t have to speak to anyone.
The community found in the body of Christ is where the gospel shines the brightest. Why? Because that’s where redeemed individuals learn to serve one another in sacrificial ways, reflecting the loving character of our God.
Community is where the gospel is lived out in 3-D. In the community of faith that exists within my own church, I can think of several ways God has blessed me.
· Instant prayer support & encouragement
· Loving friendships who have my best interests at heart
· A place to belong
· Spiritual growth
· Provision of physical needs during challenging circumstances
· A service role and a place to exercise spiritual gifts
When we merely attend a church service, we miss out on the blessings of community. I think this is the fact my dear friend forgot.
It does us little to open the doors of the church without opening our hearts as well. So, stop ‘going’ to church and get involved in the community it offers!
Looking for an entry point into your church community? Here’s a few ideas:
· Join a small group
· Participate in Sunday School discussions (which might mean preparing for lessons even
when you aren’t the teacher!)
· Sign up to serve
· Open the Scriptures with a group of women
· Find a mentor
· Ask two other people to meet you to pray
· Ask someone to lunch following the Sunday service
· Follow your church on social media and keep an eye out for needs you can meet
· Share your resources by tithing
· Pray for an opportunity to connect
Are you involved in a community faith? How did that impact your ability to carry out the Great Commission?
Melissa’s motto as a Christian journalist and creative writer is to “tell of God’s marvelous works” (Ps. 9:1). And with almost 15 years experience in print and editorial services, God has embedded Melissa with passions gleaned from stories and experiences from the field. But helping women fall in love with the sweetness of God’s Word truly makes her heart sing. Two years ago, she launched HiveResources.com to help women sweeten their walk with Christ through Bible study, missions resources, and more. She recently published a 10-week Bible study,Daughters of the King, to help women find their place in the biblical story. Melissa has a M.Div. in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M University. She and her husband, Jonathan, are currently part of a church plant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They have five-year-old twin boys, Zacharias and Jonah, who are unwittingly and joyfully shaping them into the image of Christ.
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