Going into my 15th year of pastoring, I have heard about every excuse as to why people don’t need to attend a local church in order to be a christian. Here are a few:
* I was hurt in church
* I get just as much out of watching christian television at home
* I can pray and read my Bible at home.
* Jesus isn’t about organized religion
* The local church just wants your money.
* I listen to christian teaching on the radio.
*I work all week, and my weekends are for fun and relaxation.
* The church always wants me to do something.
(the list goes on and on)
The Church, (made up of all those who have chosen Jesus Christ as their savior and Lord), truly cannot be contained in one building on Sunday. The Church is vast, diverse, and alive. The local church (the place in your location where you can worship God with other like-minded christians) was never intended to be in competition with The Big Church (for lack of a better title). The local church is intended to be a place where you can live out your faith with other human beings of like faith. It’s to be a place of support, worship, friendship, training, accountability,and growth. The local church is to help you connect with God’s big picture, the universal church headed up by Jesus himself.
New Living Translation (NLT)
10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.
God displays His wisdom and purpose through His Church. That can be a lofty, confusing purpose. The great thing is that we come to learn about God’s wisdom and purpose in His Church, through the ministry of the local church. The local church helps us connect to, and understand the Big Church plan; the Big purpose and wisdom of God. The local church, with it’s people, gifts, and resources, is vital in helping people see, understand, and find their place in the Church that Paul just wrote about in Ephesians.
Christian television, devotional, videos, internet church are all great tools and supplements to help your grow in your faith. They cannot, however, take the place of the human connection inside the walls of a local church. We pray together, weep together, rejoice together, and grow together in meaningful, face to face Faith. We truly are better together.
Don’t dismiss the local church. Even with its problems, it is still full of pilgrims helping each other enjoy the master plan of God.