The church, or the body of believers you worship with, has so much value – value we often take for granted. If we truly grasped the power of the church, maybe we would take attending it more seriously and be able harness the true power God offers to us through His church. After all, He invented the practice of getting together in His name, and everything God does has a purpose. So we can be sure that when we get together in His name, He will have great things in store for us.
There is a purpose to staying connected to the church. In fact, there are many purposes.
The church helps us stay connected to God.
The most obvious purpose of the church is to keep us connected to God. However, many people today live with the mindset that they can have their own personal faith without going to church or spending time with other Christians. While this is true to an extent, these people are missing out on so many blessings the Lord has for us during our time here on earth.
Being saved and getting God’s grace is just the beginning and the most basic foundation for our lifelong (and eternity-long) relationship with Christ. There is so much more God desires from us during our lifetime. Intimacy and connectedness with Him is one of those things.
You might think, “Well, I can be intimate with God without any help from anyone else.” Sure you can, and personal time with God is extremely important. But we’re human. We only know so much and experience so much ourselves. We have limits.
Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Two heads are better than one”? Well, multiply that by all the believers in your church and even the world. We can learn from each other with deeper teaching, different views and perspectives we haven’t thought of on our own, and spiritual discipleship. Each believer is a resource available to us through fellowship.
The problem is, with today’s society being so busy and de-socialized by technology, we’ve become perfectly content doing things by ourselves and for ourselves instead of taking the time and making the effort to seek help from others. And I’m not talking just Googling for advice or opinions. We are an independent people and take pride in being able to do things by ourselves. We just need to realize that faith is different. It’s not a sign of weakness to rely on people to help us grow in our faith. It’s a sign that we’re doing it right.
The church helps us stay connected to people.
Our fellow believers in the church serve another purpose besides helping us get closer to God, as important as that is. God made us to crave relationships with other people. We weren’t made to be alone and to do life alone. That is why people who lack close relationships are often depressed and have a sense of emptiness.
God knew we would have needs – spiritually, physically, emotionally, etc. He specifically designed the church and the people who make up the church to help meet those needs. Of course, we need to turn to God in prayer and ask Him for help, but don’t forget that God often answers prayers through fellow believers. If we’re not connected to our church, we won’t have that avenue open for God to easily use.
Life has so many ups and downs. The good times are not nearly as fun without like-minded people to celebrate with us, and the bad times are unbearable if we don’t have faith-filled people to share our burdens with and to encourage and pray for us. Going through tragedy is hard enough. It’s even more difficult when you feel like you’re alone and that nobody truly understands.
If you have close Christian friends and close non-Christian friends (or at least friends who aren’t strong in their faith), think about a time when you’ve gone through tragedy. Which friends did you turn to first? Why? Most people will turn to their friends who are strong in faith because they crave a deep intimate connection, someone to be there for them on a deep level. Since God created intimacy, it makes sense that relationships built on Him would be stronger and more intimate than relationships that aren’t.
Therefore, if we want the joy, the sense of togetherness and understanding, and the intimacy that comes from Godly relationships, we need to stay connected to God’s people.
The church helps us stay connected to the community.
The result of staying connected to God and to fellow believers is being fully equipped to serve our community and bring the rest of the world into a relationship with Christ.
Despite all its faults, the church is earth’s best representation of God and His kingdom. If we rely on each other and work together, we can accomplish the task God has laid out for us to do. This takes humility, for sure. To serve, we need to be humble. But that’s the only way to advance the kingdom of God. Jesus didn’t gain a following just by preaching. He served people. We are called to do the same.
So, when it comes to our dedication to the church and our choice to be a part of it, let’s not do it just for our sake, but also for our community’s sake. Yes, we gain lots of benefits by being connected, but ultimately we are here to serve and love others just as Christ has done for us.