Why Choose a Church?
Why should you choose a church to regularly attend? Many people question the value of the institutional church today. I regularly hear people say, “I believe in God and pray, but I don’t feel the need to go to church.” Why should you bother to commit to a church? Let me list a few reasons.
Without Commitment It’s Hard to Grow. If you want to become really good at a sport you need a coach: someone on the outside to hold you accountable to your goals, to see things you cannot see, and to give corrective feedback. When you don’t feel like getting up early to practice, knowing you have a coach waiting for you motivates you. When you are shifting your weight in a way that you can’t notice, a coach can quickly notice the problem. Our spiritual growth is similar. Paul tells us that the way we grow in Christ is by “speaking the truth in love” to one another (Eph 4:15-16). For someone to speak the truth in love to you they need to know you. Committing to one church means you can be known by others who can help you grow.
You Have Something to Offer. Ultimately, it is selfish to withhold your God-given spiritual gifts from fellow believers. Each person has something to offer for the blessing of others. While you can volunteer here or there outside of church, there is no other place where you can regularly use those gifts to bless others. The church is a community, and a community is healthy when everyone is helping one another.
God Loves the Church. If we love Jesus, we will love what Jesus loves, and Jesus loves the Church. He loves the Church so much he died for it (Eph 4:25). Sometimes we are hurt by churches, or they disappoint us. The Church has also hurt Jesus, yet he lay down his life for it. For someone to say, “I’m a Christian, but not part of a church,” is to ultimately say, “I’m a Christian, but I don’t follow Christ.” How so? Because Christ is the head of his Church. Christ is found in his Church.
The Church Is a Picture of Heaven. In Revelation 7 we see a picture of heaven. A great multitude of people from all over the world join together in worship. When we gather with others for worship, we are actually gathering with all the angels before God’s heavenly throne (Heb 12:18-24). This means that when we are gathered together for worship we are the closest to heaven we will be on this earth.
No church is perfect. No church lives up to these ideals. There are an unfortunate number of people who have been deeply hurt by the church. But we cannot let these things keep us from understanding God’s design for the Church. When the Church is being faithful to God, it is an awesome place to be!
This is an excerpt from Jon Stoddard’s new book, Choosing a Church: a Biblical and Practical Guide. Get a copy of the book on our church book table or at amazon.com