Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Go To Church

We've all heard it: "I don't GO to church because we ARE the church."
I get it. I know the body of Christ is the church. But saying: "I am going to the corporate gathering of believers" is too long so we say "I am going to church". Many now say: "I don't go to church anymore. The church left me wounded. It's full of hypocrites."

Here is my response to that. Everyone is wounded in life. Family wounds us. Friends wound us. Church wounds us. Life wounds us. That doesn't mean we check out of all those things. Being hurt is part of life. Those who grow and mature from it are happier in life than those who "just can't move on". 

Being a pastor's wife the last five years has greatly increased my appreciation for the local church. My appreciation for GOING to church...consistently... week after week has grown. I see a difference in the lives of those who sporadically go and those who come every Sunday giving of themselves and being given to.

There is a "movement" to leave church. To walk away. To "do church in homes like the first believers did". I have not seen the sort of accountability and church government I believe God desires in these home churches. There is almost a sort of pride that I see from people I know who are like this. They look down on us silly Christians that meet in a "building". Um... a home is a building too. Ours is just bigger and functions better for how many people come here. Jesus went to the synagogues often. Once Christianity came on the scene there were no church buildings because it had just begun.

I do see the benefit of meeting in homes. That's why our church has so many home fellowships through out the week. I see how they encourage closer relationships and I am thankful for them, but I also see the benefit of having a place to meet corporately. I see the blessing of having a pastor study all week and present the Word of God to us each week as God feeds His sheep through that man.

No local church body is perfect. Just like you aren't perfect. No local church body lacks in hypocrites but I am pretty sure if I asked those who live with you if you are ever hypocritical there would be a resounding yes. The church exists for Christ and His glory, not you and your feelings. Being plugged into a local church body of believers is a blessing not only for you but those around you! It is such a gift to be part of local body of believers that you can benefit from and that can benefit from the gifts God has given you.

Go to church. Go to a church that says: "Turn with me in your bibles to...." Go to a church where there is an emphasis on destroying sin and rejoicing in your salvation. Get plugged into a local body. It provides accountability and encouragement. It provides a place you can consistently go to and feel like home. It provides a family like you have never known.

One of the biggest gifts I have witnessed for myself and for those in our church is the sense of community that we have! Oh the joy to know that if you go through something tough that your church family will definitely be there for you. Oh the joy of mourning with those who mourn and rejoicing with those who rejoice. Sharing life with brothers and sisters in Christ is how God designed us to live and yet so many forfeit this.... You were not meant to live on an island by yourself. You and your family were designed to be living life with your brothers and sisters in Christ through all the ups and downs. You were meant to have relationships with people that endure and withstand all those conflicts and annoyances. 

Don't buy into the lie that you don't need to be part of a local church body. Don't believe that you are too good for all those churches that just "can't get their act together". You're pretty messed up yourself. Just like me and everyone else. 
Once you get plugged in, expect to be let down. Expect to be hurt. Expect to be disappointed. But also expect to grow and be challenged. Expect to be loved. Look for ways to encourage others and don't go to church with such a critical heart. Look for ways to bless others and don't just sit there waiting to be blessed.

Go to church.