Continuing in my current series of New Year’s Resolutions for Christians, I’d like to look at prioritizing church. If you missed last week’s resolution, you can check it out here!
You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian
You will never hear me say that you have to go to church to be a Christian. In fact, I’ve written very passionately on the subject before. Christ is the only way to become a Christian. The only way. The only way. The only way. I feel like I have to keep saying this because people keep putting an “and” on the end of a sentence where God has put a period. Christ “and baptism.” Christ “and being perfect.” Christ “and going to church.” No, church is not necessary for salvation. Not everyone in a church is a Christian, and not everyone who is outside of a church is a non-Christian. But, to become a better Christian, and to more fully realize your potential as a follower of Christ, going to church is a necessity. Growing Christians should absolutely want to go to church. We recognize that the Bible is clear that gathering together is important…but why?
The local church is a body
Put simply, the local church is a body. Like a body, we help each other. When someone’s leg is broken, the other leg picks up more weight. This helps the broken leg to heal. The church should act like this. The church can be a place where we can find comfort, support, and healing. We find this in Christ, and we find this in Christians. True followers of Christ understand that we aren’t perfect. We understand that we are broken, and we understand that helping other broken people is what we are called to do. This gathering of broken people is important to help non-Christians see what Christ is like and what we should be like, and also to help Christians support each other.
The church is a great place to worship God with other believers. I can worship God on my own. We are all worshipping something at any given time, so of course we worship alone. However, the local church is a unique opportunity to worship corporately, or as a body. It’s a time to get together and unite. This is not only encouraging and exciting for Christians, but is also an effective tool to reach the lost. When the lost see us worshipping together, it leads to questions. These are questions that, when answered, can bring the lost to Christ. It’s important to get together to worship. I can exercise my arm all day long, but the only thing that gets stronger is my arm. When we worship together as a body, the entire body gets stronger.
The local church is also a place where the body can work together. I can share the Gospel on my own. I can help spread the message on my own. But in a body, many parts should also work together to accomplish great things, and it is absolutely incredible to see what God does when His people get together. I love reading about military history. When then airborne invaded Normandy in World War II, they were scattered all over. It took time to get these scattered units put back together and on the same page. Everyone knew the objectives, but they couldn’t fully accomplish them alone. Only when they worked together to accomplish the task at hand could they complete their mission. Individual soldiers accomplished small victories, but they could only accomplish the biggest victories by getting on the same page. The local church should be a gathering to get on the same page. Christians know the mission: help people find Christ. We can (and should) do that individually, which will lead to great individual victories. I love hearing stories of these individual victories, and we can never overstate their importance. However, by getting together in the local church, we can get on the same page and accomplish completely different victories. We can mount a larger-scale mission on reaching the lost as a body than we can individually.
So this year, make church a priority. There are good reasons to be an active part of a local body, and I only gave a few here. Bodies are at their best when everything is working together, and going to church helps us work together. Going to church just once a week will take up roughly 1% of your time. Participating in a life group and a service opportunity once a week will up that to roughly 3% of your time. But prioritizing that 3% of your time can help accomplish great things, both in the world and in your own life. So begin prioritizing it, and remember Hebrews 10:25 as you go into 2018:
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”