Why I Need The Church (and Why The Church May Need You And Me)Though I have a bit of jet lag here, our time in Athens has been magnificent ! Yesterday my wife and I visited FIRST GREEK EVANGELICAL Church on Amalias Ave.
It struck me as we left the church services, one of the more disturbing trends I’ve seen in my life experiences and as a Chaplain, is the perceived lack of need for church. This is something that seems to be an ever-growing issue. Though my ministry takes me outside of the of the doors of the church building, I do need the ministry of what goes on inside the one we attend regularly as well. The precious people we met at FIRST GREEK EVANGELICAL Church was a delightful experience in fellowship and worship.
I hear it all the time:
“I don’t like organized religion.”
“I don’t like the music/preaching/style/time/ the people/etc.”
“I don’t have time for church.”
“Sunday is my only day to sleep in.”
“I don’t need any help.”
“I don’t need the church.”
“I can do this on my own.”
This really disturbs me, for several reasons. But let me state it succinctly:
You need the church. And the church needs you.
Let’s look at both of those reasons in a little more detail.
You need the church
The church helps you grow. The church is a place where you connect with God and where you connect with other people for the purpose of discipleship. You can get some of this on your own, by reading the Bible, but it’s very limited. You need the church.
The church is a place to worship. Can you worship on your own? Absolutely! But corporate worship is as critical as personal worship.
The church is a place to serve. The church is a place where you can get involved. Serve others. Serve in a ministry. Serve in the community.
The church is a place where you can connect with like-minded people.Maybe they won’t see eye-to-eye with you on everything. But they do serve the same God as you. Don’t be so arrogant to think you can’t learn from them. And realize that they may learn from you as well.
The church is the Bride of Christ. To blatantly state that you don’t need the church borders on insult. If Christ loved his Bride so much so that he sacrificed his life for her, then we have no right to treat so lightly what he loved so intently.
The church needs you
Ministry happens in the church. But without people involved in all areas, things won’t get done. People won’t be reached. The Kingdom of God won’t be impacted.
Your presence is an encouragement to others. When people see you in church, they know that they aren’t walking this journey with Christ on their own.
Your presence is a testimony to non-believers. Attending church says that you are committed to Christ, even if it means sacrificing your only day to sleep in. The priority you place on church is seen by those around you.
The church needs your time and your money. While too many churches seem to always have their hand out, the need is very real. And your help is critical.
The church is a body. Every body is made up of different parts. And every part is needed and has a role to fill. When one part of the body is absent, the whole body feels it. Take a few moments and read 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.
The church is a necessary part of the believer’s life. And to forsake being a part of this body is to miss out on some significant aspects of your walk with Christ.
The writer of Hebrews said it best:
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
– Hebrews 10:24-25
One of my favorite authors is C. S. Lewis. He addressed the issue of church attendance in a way that makes it easy to understand.
“My own experience is that when I first became a Christian, about fourteen years ago, I thought that I could do it on my own, by retiring to my rooms and reading theology, and I wouldn’t go to the churches and Gospel Halls; and then later I found that it was the only way of flying your flag; and, of course, I found that this meant being a target.
It is extraordinary how inconvenient to your family it becomes for you to get up early and go to Church. It doesn’t matter so much if you get up early for anything else, but if you get up early to go to Church it’s very selfish of you and you upset the house. If there is anything in the teaching of the New Testament which is inthe nature of a comand, it is that you are obliged to take the Sacrament, and you can’t do it without going to Church. I disliked very much their hymns, which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate music.
But as I went on I saw the great merit of it. I came up against different people of quite diferent outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit just began peeling off. I realized that the hymns (which were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren’t fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit.”
– from “Answers to Questions on Christianity,” God in the Dock
That pretty much says it all, don’t you think?
Though I may not see you in church on Sunday! Hopefully you will see someone, and someone will see you.
What are your reasons for attending church (or not attending church)?Χάρη και ειρήνη