Why We Need The Church

Why We Need The Church

What is the church all about?

I grew up going to church. My parents attended, so I attended. I did Awana, Vacation Bible School, church choir, Bible studies, Easter programs, Christmas skits, youth group, potlucks, and even Sunday night hymn singing. It was engrained in me that we were a family that went to church.

It wasn’t until later that I started to ask the question most do: why?

As I’ve grown up and matured in my faith, I’ve started to see that there is much more to church than being involved in church. All of the things I listed had their own specific purpose and were great things to do…but they weren’t the reason for attending church.

Now, as an adult making my own decisions in life, I’ve had to reevaluate what church is all about–even to go as far as to ask, “Do I still believe in attending church?” And if so, “Why?”

Stop and think for a moment…Do you attending a Sunday morning service or Wednesday night Bible study because it’s what you’ve always done? Is “church” so engrained into your makeup you don’t see it as anything more than “that thing you do”? Because, if so, that’s the wrong approach to church.

3758713640_55638dbcaa_z

Flickr by Michael Caven

I want to take a look at 5 dangerous views we can have of church:

1. Church as “routine”

This, in my opinion, is extremely dangerous. When church becomes routine or a habit, it takes away from the reality of what church is. Church is part of a healthy lifestyle of a believer. I know there are those who have been burned by churches and leadership in the past, but God never said that if something was difficult we could ignore it–especially not when it’s such an integral part of the culture He fostered in the New Testament.

2. Church as a means to “get”

This is a popular belief in modern church culture. We ask: Why should I attend church?  What do I get out of it? What church do I want to attend? Usually the answer is whatever one we like best. Nope. That’s not the way to choose a church. We aren’t called to be a part of a healthy church to “get” something – we’re a part of a church to give. I love the picture Acts paints of a health, growing church:

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Acts 2:42-47

3. Church as a “good thing”

Also a preconceived notion, we don’t go to church because it’s the “right thing to do”. Viewing church as your ticket to goodness (or favor with God) places a weight on the church it was never supposed to bear. You are not saved because you attend church. You hear the Gospel and God’s word there (or you should be), you enjoy fellowship, you serve, you take part in mission, but these are all things that come as an outpouring of the work God has done in your own heart (James 2).

5781615723_040829dd1e_b

Flickr by Sean MacEntee

4. Church as “fun”

Yes, church can be fun and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, if that’s all it is, then what’s the point? I think Acts 2 points out some great things that a church should be doing: hearing solid teaching, praying together, spending time in fellowship, enjoying meals together, meeting the needs of those in the church, and praising God as a body of believers. When these things are in balance, I think fun is included, but it’s a byproduct of growing closer together in community with one another.

5. Church as a “place”

Lastly, I think it’s dangerous to see church as a building. The church is a body of believers. The beautiful thing about that is the fact that, no matter where you are in the world, you are still part of “the church”. The buildings will look differently and styles may vary, but the common thing is (and should be) Jesus.

I point out these things because I see a dangerous thing springing up in our generation. There is a distrust of the church and a misunderstanding about its function. Church is not something you tack on to your life because you’ve always attended. If that’s all it is, you’re missing the point.

My prayer is that we would get back to the roots of what church is supposed to be. A beautiful picture of a community of believers that supports one another, loves one another, and focuses on reaching out to those who don’t yet know Jesus. Let’s do what we can to foster a church culture that holds these things as more important than personal preference and places Jesus at the center of it all.

Have you struggled with believing these things about the church?  What could God be asking you to change about your perspective of the church? What successes have you seen in your own church history?

 

Cover Image from Flickr by TumblingRun

Be Sociable, Share!
Emilie Hendryx About Emilie Hendryx

Emilie is a freelance writer, photographer, and graphic designer living in Dayton, Ohio. She’s a member of ACFW and writes Young Adult fiction. In her spare time, you can find her designing fun bookish items for her Etsy and Society6 shops all while drinking too much coffee.
Visit Thinking Thoughts blog: click here
Visit her shops: click here

Comments

  1. So well said, Emilie! Important words for us to remember.

    [Reply]

  2. You echo many of my thoughts on this vital topic, Emily. May God help us to realize what privileges we have before it is too late!

    [Reply]

  3. Thanks so much Cherie!

    [Reply]

  4. Yes and amen Kristin! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    [Reply]

Speak Your Mind

*