Why You and I Need the Local Church
It is true that we can worship God anywhere, but is that the only purpose of the church gathering? No. God has designed the gathering to do what can’t be done alone in your living room. You can meet with God by yourself, but God didn’t call you to serve him merely as an individual; he called you to be a part of the whole body. Christ is the head who provides nourishment to the rest of the body, and every believer needs this nourishment.
“I don’t need to go to a building to meet with God.”
“I can read my Bible and pray anywhere.”
“I love Jesus, but I’m against organized religion.”
I often hear these types of statements as a justification to skip out on the weekly gathering of God’s people (church). It’s true that we can meet with God anywhere, but is that a biblically acceptable reason to miss the church?
We live in a culture where church attendance is valued less and less, especially among younger generations. I’m not talking about non-believers either many who call themselves followers of Christ don’t place a high value on church attendance anymore.
Perhaps some are rebelling against hypocrisy or inconsistency they have witnessed among churchgoers. For some, church attendance may never become more than a religious ritual that seemed irrelevant to them. Or perhaps we’ve become too busy, and the church isn’t high on our priority list.
You Need the Local Church
We are all likely familiar with the admonition in Hebrews 10:24-25:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
This well-known passage reminds us that we NEED to meet together with God’s people. Doing so stirs our hearts and affections toward the Lord and provokes us to do good works. You NEED brothers and sisters to encourage you and pray for you. You NEED people in your life who will correct you in grace and love. Our hearts cannot be trusted, so we depend upon others in our lives to help us see our blind spots.
God has provided the local church to be this kind of spiritual community. If we are not involved in a local church, if we are not living life with people we have covenanted with, or if we try to live out an “it’s between Jesus and me” kind of spiritually, then our spiritual growth will be stunted. Thus, the Lord warns us not to neglect this important time together.
Hebrews 3 also reminds us of our need for Christian brothers and sisters:
“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
What will help us remain strong in the faith and fight against a hard heart? Exhortation from our brothers and sisters in Christ. The regular gathering of the saints is a God-ordained community for that very purpose.
It is true that we can worship God anywhere, but is that the only purpose of the church gathering? No. God has designed the gathering to do what can’t be done alone in your living room. You can meet with God by yourself, but God didn’t call you to serve him merely as an individual; he called you to be a part of the whole body.
Christ is the head who provides nourishment to the rest of the body, and every believer needs this nourishment.