Do we need the church? There is so much talk these days about how church attendance is declining, a struggle to continue to see the relevance of the church.
Here I’m speaking of the church as the weekly gathering place. This year Barnitz Church is celebrating 178 years of gathering and Mt. Zion Crossroads Church is celebrating 150 years.
There have been many changes to the spaces they gather in, the times of meeting and even what the service looks like each week. However, I want to remind us today the importance of gathering together as the church.
Consider the picture of the early church found in Acts 2 (CEB):
42 The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. 43 A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles. 44 All the believers were united and shared everything. 45 They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them. 46 Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. 47 They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.
The church is a group of people doing life together because they believe in Jesus. They came together in larger settings, such as the temple, but they also came together in their own homes. They studied and prayed together.
They were living out being the church, following Jesus Christ together!
The Apostle Paul gives a clearer understanding of why they came together. The church is made of people called by God to serve in different ways.
11 He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. 12 His purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ 13 until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son. God’s goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4, CEB)
Do you hear that last part?
We need everyone in the church, this includes you, to live out their callings. As we come together, we help one another to mature and more fully reflect the image of Christ in our lives!
Can you be a Christian without being connected to a church?
You can, but why would you want to be? It is through the church we understand more fully what it means in our lives to love as Jesus loves.