Does Church Still Matter?

The question of whether church is an important part of Christian life is age old.  Is attendance a make it or break it issue?

The Bible refers to the Church in such an intimate and loving way. Christ refers to it as His spotless bride (Eph. 5:25-27). He likens us to virgins waiting for the bridegroom (Mt. 25:1). If we are His bride then it would stand to be true that we are of one flesh with Him – which would mean we are His body. And we are (Rom. 12:5).

I had a conversation today that I have had so many times before and it hurts me every time. An old friend claims to have a great relationship with God; and I believe him. He says that his private, alone time with God is great, but he doesn’t want to go to church. His relationship with God is fine without it.  However, if all we are focused on is our relationship with God then we have missed the point.

ImageIn the garden of Eden God created man and lived with him for a period of time before creating him a companion. Why did God create Eve? Surely, the God of the universe was enough for Adam to be satisfied, no?

And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18 

God found that Adam needed both a relationship with Him (vertical) and a relationship with others who were like him (horizontal).

Church isn’t just about you.  Sure, you gain from church.  We all should.  If you aren’t gaining, or “being fed”, you might be in the wrong church.  Pray and allow God to reveal that to you.  We should be receiving from the Pastor as he teaches the word of God.  We should also be gaining a sense of family, being involved with other believers.  The book of Hebrews tells us in chapter 10 not to “forsake the gathering of believers.”  That is so you will stay sharp and have others around you to keep you accountable.

You should also be blessed by the worship time.

One of the greatest concerts I have ever been to was a Third Day concert.  I don’t even like Third Day, but this wasn’t about them.  This was a worship service.  It was at a large amphitheater in West Palm Beach, FL and my father and I were given a pair of box seat tickets.  The box was located in the center of the pit near the front of the stage.  If we turned around we could see the whole place.  There was nothing like turning around to see thousands and thousands of people with their arms raised in worship to God.

Recently, my wife and I went with a group of young adults (who we LOVE and miss tremendously) to Miami to worship at a Hillsong United concert.  We sat at the tip top of the American Airlines Arena and looked down as droves of people celebrated and worshipped along – all singing in harmony.  It was beautiful.  But it was not just about us gaining. It was about God receiving – but…

Church isn’t just about God either.  God gains when we gather together in church as well.  He receives worship when we sing along with the worship team, hands lifted high with our hearts focused on Him.  He also gains when we learn from His word.  He knows that we are becoming more knowledged, which will allow us to minister better to others.

But church isn’t just about us or God.

Church is about other people too.  Imagine for a moment that you are walking down the street and suddenly you see an arm slinking along the ground, Walking Dead style, next to you.  Or you and your spouse or friend are chilling at PF Chang’s when an eyeball rolls into the restaurant.  It’s a crazy thought out of a sci-fi flick, but that is what some of us look like to God.

When we are not part of a local church body, God sees us as a detached limb or a missing eyeball.  We were created to be in fellowship with other believers.  If you don’t have a church home, then somewhere, there is a Body of Christ that is incomplete.  You are a vital part of a church somewhere.

Your talents. Your gifts. Quite simply, YOU are needed.  There’s a church in your area that isn’t as strong as it should be.  You may think you have no talents, but God created you with that church in mind.  It needs you.  It needs you.

I want to address a group who I know are reading this saying,”Well, you don’t know what my experiences at church have been like.”  Yes, I do.  I have been burned.  I have been left thinking, “Wow, I just wasted years of my life.”

I know some of you feel like you were taken advantage of, lied to, mistreated, stolen from.

But, you know, there are problems everywhere. We don’t go to a steak house, get a bad steak and swear off steak forever. Sure, we may try a new restaurant, but we don’t generally blame the particular dish. I find so often that people have the opposite feelings toward church.  One, or a few churches turn out to be bad choices so we just stop church all together.

I would really encourage all of you to begin to pray that God will show you where you are supposed to be planted. See, church isn’t just about you. It is about what you can add to the family. I believe life is all about relationships, both between us and God and between us and other men.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Jenny says:

    You know what Steve, I agree with your friend to a point! If you look at what ‘church’ has become nowadays – its almost a joke! I’m sorry and sad to say that it has become a ‘marketplace’! And yes, personally allll that matters to me IS my relationship with God!
    He wants to have a relationship with ME and me with HIM! If I don’t have a relationship with Him how then will I know what His plans and purposes for me are? My pastor can’t tell me , my friends can’t, you can’t, nobody can except Him! If I know Him, then I trust Him! I can’t trust Him without knowing Him. When I know Him, then I know where His boundaries are if not then I will walk in disobedience and against Him.
    When I stand in judgement my pastor will not be there, my friends, family, church members who stood by me during worship,all of them wont be there! I will be answerable to all that the Word of God says I’ll be answerable! Think about it! Prov 9:10, you can’t fear or reverence God if you don’t know Him! The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. you can’t fear or reverence God if you don’t know Him!
    I was actually thinking about this last Sunday, I asked God to help me in my reasoning because I really wanted to understand. When I travel, I find looking for a church a hard thing. I walk into some places and they are acting like cats and dogs, another, the holy spirit is laughing peoples heads off, another, buying and selling is all that is going on, another, the doctrine they are teaching is so twisted yet they are all shouting hallelujah!, another, demons and spirits are manifesting from the pulpits its like a gypsy circus of some sorts and I seem to be the only one questioning this theatrics – Word of God – non existent, its the Pastors opinion or their denomination opinion, another, idols and people worship everywhere and I find myself asking – Where is God in all these because so far – only the devil is showing up and he is having an awesome time with these people!
    Look at the state of church in this day and age: Its too much for me to write honestly, I asked God: Why is nobody standing up for what is righteous, what you have commanded, your commandments are unheeded in every way, tolerance of every abomination that You have warned us against, why are your priests so numb and mute, shamelessly promoting their own ideas instead of Yours, support of devilish manifestations and all that? I said Lord, I don’t want to be yoked with them, I don’t want to sit in their midst while they mock You, I don’t want to partake in their offerings and sacrifices, I don’t want to listen to their lies because what they say is written in His Word is actually NOT! I want to read His Word and know what He is saying so that I can trust Him, not wait for an author to give me a shortcut! And I just had to open Matthew 7:13-29! Those wolves are in plenty and no body seems to care and I decided you know what, I’m gonna swim against some of this river tides cos honestly something is wrong somewhere and I’d rather stand with Him alone than with a multitude without Him!
    When it comes to gifts and talents, if a brain is damaged by looking, hearing and proclaiming man’s doctrine,what good are my limbs then and who or whom I’m I serving? If the word ingrained in my heart is not His truth then what do I believe and who do I trust?

    1. I love activity on the site, even if it is contrary to my personal opinion. The truth is that without back and forth conversation, our iron will never become sharp. I hear everything you are saying Jenny, and I don’t disagree with much of it. However, church didn’t just “become” this way. It was this way even in the word of God.

      Read 3 John verses 9-10

      I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. 10 So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.

      This is talking about Diotrephes, the assumed pastor of this church. He isn’t acting Holy, Godly or righteous in any way, but did John say, “Therefore, no one should bother with church!”? He didn’t. His response was to travel there and set things right for the betterment of all those who attend this church.

      There are a ton of churches out there that are self-serving and non-biblical. I am not encouraging the reader to go to ANY church, I am saying that we need to pray that God would put us in the right church. Maybe it is your job to bring balance to a church who “does what is right in their own eyes”.

      Additionally, I believe that you are writing this reply based on the conclusion that I don’t believe a relationship with God is important, or as important as church attendance. A relationship with God is the solitary, most important thing in any of our lives. Does that not go without saying? Who would bother going to church at all if they didn’t value a relationship with God?

      Furthermore, the selfish idea that “it’s just me and God.” and the arrogant idea that “these people are all hypocrites and liars and I’m better off without them” needs to stop just as much as those we are calling names need to stop doing the things they are being accused of doing. Paul didn’t abandon the church of Corinth because they were a horrible people, he wrote letters to them to teach and instruct in order to draw them closer to God.

      It all comes back to your purpose on this earth. If your purpose on the earth was to be close to God and that’s all, then He would have simply killed you before you left your mother’s womb, then you’d be with Him instantly. Your purpose is to help others learn the love of Christ. If all we have are churches full of crazy people because all the “good christians” are content staying home, then what happens to all the crazy people?

      The acronym JOY is a great thing to remember.

      LOVE Jesus
      LOVE Others
      LOVE Yourself.

  2. Sigga says:

    In Philipians 1:17,18 Paul writes:
    Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice. (NLT)

    In addition, there will never be a perfect church just as there is no such thing as a perfect person, unless of course we refer to Jesus Christ. But, the fact of the matter is we are made to be in family. Families give us love, support, guidance, and a place to comfortably call home. The church is meant to be an extension of family where believers come together to strengthen one another and all serve to greater enhance the Kingdom of God and further glorify His name.

  3. Russ says:

    I would be screwed without church because I need accountability and I also need to be fed by someone other than myself.

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