If you identify yourself as a Christian, then I assume it really matters to you whether or not Jesus wants you to attend church. After all, He is your King….not just your advisor….or your buddy….but your Lord….and your God. Right?
We live in a day where many professing believers are being tempted to ditch the whole “church thing.” In some cases, it’s because they had a bad experience in a church. That is understandable….because it happens. Just as divorce takes place in marriages, pain is also experienced in certain church situations. So what’s the solution? Should you dump church…or instead, get connected to one where you will grow?
Here is what the New Testament church did from its very inception. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts:2:42) If you don’t realize how badly you need each one of those things, then you don’t understand the New Testament….and you don’t understand spiritual growth.
Some people who leave a church never end up in another church….they remain spiritually homeless. And many of them quickly begin to lose whatever spiritual vitality they had been experiencing.
We can all tell ourselves “it won’t happen to me,” but that is often not how it plays out. When Christians attempt to remain strong in the Lord outside of His family gatherings, it usually doesn’t work. That’s because Jesus instituted His church for many important reasons, and not one of us is smarter than Jesus.
And so “yes,” Jesus cares deeply about whether or not His followers attend church. But it’s not just a matter of “attending church.” It’s really about belonging to a fellowship of believers….where you are fed….and you grow….and you serve….and you are encouraged….and you encourage others….and you pray with each other….and celebrate the Lord’s Supper together….and you experience God’s power and grace.
What’s that? You thought the church was there primarily to meet your needs? Well who did you think was going to help do that? It takes people to care for other people. It takes you to be a blessing to others. Have you come to understand yet how important your place is in the family?
Some Christians “young in the Lord” still have a “consumer mentality” about church, “What’s in it for me?” But just watch…as you grow in the Lord, you will begin to concentrate on…”Who can I bless? Who can I serve? What gifts has the Lord given me to help others know Him and grow in Him?”
Have you reached that point yet in your walk with Christ, or do you still just tend to think that the church is primarily there to meet your needs? That’s the life of a child…and while we thank the Lord for children, we also recognize that children need to grow into mature adults. It’s that way in the family….and it’s that way in the Lord’s church.