3 Reasons the Church Matters

3 Reasons the Church Matters {accountability, biblical teaching, community}

Welcome to day 24 of STAND OUT: 7 traits of a counter cultural life. You can find every post in this series indexed here.

We’re wrapping up the discussion about DEPENDENCE today. In a society that values self-sufficiency and independence, one of the most radical ways we live counter culturally is to acknowledge our need for relationship both with God and with others. We were created with an inherent desire for connection with God and community with others.

As believers, we also have a unique responsibility to link our lives with one another as we seek to live out the Great Commandment {Matthew 22:36-40} and the Great Commission {Matthew 28:18-20}. I have a deep love for the Church … and a deep respect for the value of local congregations.  We need to identify ourselves with both the whole Body as well as with a local faith family.

Churches are made of people. Broken, sinful, wretched people. We say and do things that create strife and heartache. It's nothing new. Paul had to address some of the same issues we see in the modern church.  But let there be no mistake, local faith families are important! The church matters ... and being connected to a local congregation is important for every believer. David Mathis writes,  "One of the most counter-cultural things you can do is become an engaged member of a faithful local church."  Committing ourselves to a local congregation is important for several reasons.

 

The Church matters. And churches matter.

As a pastor’s daughter {and granddaughter, and great-granddaughter}, I grew up knowing the local congregation was valuable. As a pastor’s wife, I see every week the difference local church families make in the lives of individuals and in the communities they serve. I’m not naive to the hurt churches can and have caused.  In fact, both my parents and my brother’s family have been on the receiving end of horrific examples of “church gone bad.”  We’ve personally experienced the deep wounding people can cause in the name of Christ and through the power structures of local congregations. To those who have been hurt by a congregation, I am so sorry! 

Churches are made of people. Broken, sinful, wretched people. We say and do things that create strife and heartache. It’s nothing new. Paul had to address some of the same issues we see in the modern church.

But let there be no mistake, local faith families are important! The church matters … and being connected to a local congregation is important for every believer. David Mathis writes,

One of the most counter-cultural things you can do is become an engaged member of a faithful local church. {source}

Committing ourselves to a local congregation is important for several reasons.

Accountability

This goes both ways, y’all. When we join a local church we choose to be accountability TO other believers and we also become a part of the accountability FOR others.

At 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 al the more as you see the Day is drawing near.  Hebrews 10:24-25

Biblical Teaching

Aligning ourselves with a gospel-centered congregation places us under biblical teaching. While I am certainly an advocate of personal Bible study, I firmly believe even the most faithful student of the Word benefits from sitting under the teaching and instruction of preachers and seasoned Bible teachers.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom … Colossians 3:16

Community

Affiliation with a local church provides us with a community where we are able to grow, serve, and worship with others. We see this in the earliest passages about the church.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Acts 2:42

While I do not deny these same benefits can be found in less formal arrangements {and that often such organic methods are both valuable and necessary}, we cannot deny these Scriptures were written TO local congregations and ABOUT them. The New Testament writers had no concept of a faith lived outside connection to a local congregation.

If we are going to be obedient to the words of Christ regarding our mission, we need to be connected and committed to a local faith family. But we also need to understand the other people in our church are not going to be able to meet our every need ... only God can do that.  We need to know our fellow believers are going to disappoint us and hurt us sometimes. Our leaders are going to make decisions we disagree with and sometimes they may even make bad choices. We are not going to like every song or agree with every sermon. We won't find a perfect small group or like every program. Some churches may have excellent children's ministries while others are more passionate about missions. But no congregation will do everything right ... and no local church will be perfect.   For me, that's a relief. Because I'd hate to be the member who brought the imperfection into the perfect church.

The Church matters. And local churches matter.

If we are going to be obedient to the words of Christ regarding our mission, we need to be connected and committed to a local faith family. But we also need to understand the other people in our church are not going to be able to meet our every need … only God can do that.  We need to know our fellow believers are going to disappoint us and hurt us sometimes. Our leaders are going to make decisions we disagree with and sometimes they may even make bad choices. We are not going to like every song or agree with every sermon. We won’t find a perfect small group or like every program. Some churches may have excellent children’s ministries while others are more passionate about missions. But no congregation will do everything right … and no local church will be perfect. 

For me, that’s a relief. Because I’d hate to be the member who brought the imperfection into the perfect church.

xo,

Teri Lynne

Prayers from the Pews Banner www.TeriLynneUnderwood.com

In 2012 I wrote Prayers from the Pews: The Power of Praying for Your Church. If  you are looking for a way to invest in your church, may I humbly suggest this as a starting point for prayer?

These are two great articles on this topic:

Why Join a Church? on Desiring God

5 Reasons You Need to Join a Church by Tim Challies

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