We've been exploring reasons for joining a church in the last couple of days, and I want to finish up this thought (at least on my part, your comments are always welcome) today with a few more reasons.
These come from Rick Warren's book, Purpose Driven Life:
- A church family identifies you as a genuine believer. I can’t claim to be following Christ if I’m not connected to any specific group of disciples. When we come together in love as a church family from different backgrounds, race, and social status, it is a powerful witness to the world. You are not the Body of Christ on your own. You need others to express that. Together, not separated, we are His Body.
- A church family moves you out of self-isolation. The local church is the classroom for learning how to get along in God’s family. As a participating member, you learn to care about others and share the experiences of others: “If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it. Or if one part of our body is honored, all the other parts share in its honor.” (1 Cor 12:26) Biblical fellowship is being as committed to each other as we are to Jesus Christ. God expects us to live our lives for each other.
- A church family helps you develop spiritual muscle. You will never grow to maturity just by attending worship services and being a passive spectator. Only participation in the full life of a local church builds spiritual muscle. “As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (Eph 4:16b) We need more than the Bible to grow; we need other believers. We grow faster and stronger by learning from each other and by being accountable to each other. When others share what God is teaching them, I learn and grow, too.
- The Body of Christ needs you. God has a unique role for you to play in his family. Your local church is the place God designed for you to discover, develop and use your gifts. Jesus has not promised to build your ministry; he has promised to build His church.
- You will share in Christ’s mission in the world. When Jesus walked the earth, God worked through the physical body of Christ; today he uses his spiritual body. The church is God’s instrument on earth. As members of Christ’s body, we are his hands, his feet, his eyes, and his heart. He works through us in the world.
- A church family will help keep you from backsliding. None of us are immune to temptation. Given the right situation, you and I are capable of any sin. A church family provides us with the accountability to keep us on track, to be strong while fighting the temptations that come our way, and to work through our sin when we fail. Satan loves detached believers, unplugged from the life of the Body, isolated from God’s family, and unaccountable to spiritual leaders, because he knows they are defenseless and powerless against his attacks.
In another of his books, Purpose Driven Church, Warren points out that God really made us to be a part of the life of a local church. We are created with five basic needs: a purpose to live, people to live with, principles to live by, a profession to live out, and power to live on. The church is the only place on earth where you can meet all five of these needs in one place.
Your thoughts and comments are always appreciated...