You may think that the name of this post is a no-brainer, but it isn't. Many people today call themselves Christians and have not actively attended church in years. These are not bad people. I believe that many of these people have a right to have not attended church; after all, many churches are boring, outdated, and irrelevant to the issues of people's lives. However, it is my belief that the Christian faith is best lived in relationship with other believers and that reaching our full potential as a human being can only come as we are growing in our relationship with God. Following Jesus has never been something that happens in isolation. If you want a religion that is all about what you do on your own, go try Buddhism. That is not how the Christian faith was ever intended to operate. Everyone has individual and personal faith commitments they must make, but the practicing of that faith is lived out with others.
Here are two reasons out of four why followers of Jesus should attend church:
#1 - Church can actually be fun
I know that some of you read this and have no belief that it is possible, but it is. Church can actually be fun, inspirational, and something you do because you like it, not just because it is some silly obligation. It is actually possible to go to church and leave feeling better than what you came in. It is okay to go to church and laugh, smile, and see people you like. There is nothing in the Bible that says church must be stiff, stagnant, and dreadful - yet this is often people's experience. Remedy: find a church that you look forward to waking up on Sunday's for. Look for a church that you would be willing to TIVO the game instead of using the game as an excuse to miss.
#2 - Church can help you grow in your relationship with God
God doesn't want you to attend church because it makes Him feel good, He wants you to attend church because its good for you. When we are in relationship with others who accept us for who we are, who know we struggle, who know we fail, yet we are still accepted and loved, that is the definition of community. We were never meant to "do it on our own" when it comes to faith. The Bible speaks of "iron sharpening iron." We are there for each other. We learn from each other. We challenge each other. Being a part of a church gives you perspective other than your own - which is extremely important to growing as a person. Ultimately, you cannot say you love God, yet not love others. I know the knock on churches is that they are full of hypocrites, but guess what: so is your work, your family, and every other group of people around you? Everyone is a hypocrite. The difference is that those in the church recognize their need for grace and transformation. Remedy: find a church you feel comfortable making friends with and that will challenge you to grow as a follower of Jesus.
To be continued...