People will often tell me how they used to go to church, but they don’t go anymore. The reasons sound different but usually end up the same: They’ve been hurt, the church they went to just didn’t fit, or they couldn’t handle the politics, or they believe they can worship God on their own, or they just didn’t feel welcome. I’m not going to focus on the causes today, but on the power of belonging.
Not being an active member of a church is like what happens to my motorbike when I don’t ride it often enough; when I want to start it - It won’t start! Without regular use, and intentional care and maintenance the battery become weak because it hasn’t been charged, the fuel is stale because it hasn’t been refreshed, and there is dust covering what was once a clean and beautiful thing. The same is true for our spiritual lives, we need to guard against signs of neglect, ensure that we have fresh fuel in the tank and make sure we are plugged into the Source of Life; only then do we have the energy, power and endurance to stand firm in the face of the storms when they come (because the storms always come!).
Of course we can worship alone (I worship alone every morning) BUT something special happens when you are gathered with the Body of Christ. Jesus told us that when two or three are gathered together in His name, He would be in the midst of them. God inhabits the praises of His people, and true worship allows this to happen. Jesus modelled regular church attendance (Luke 4:16), as disciples we are to follow His example. Jesus also demonstrated the importance of fellowship and discipleship; what His time with the disciples shows us is that Christianity is caught and not taught: so if we want to be going deeper in discipleship journey, if we want to be a good example to our children and grandchildren, if we want to be charged, fuelled and ready to stand strong in the storm, or to share in the growth of others and to be disciple makers in obedience to the Great Commission - then, yes we need to attend church - but more than that we need to belong!
So, let go of old hurts, release grudges, get over past issues and re-enage with church. Find a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, Jesus-loving church, choose to belong and then be the kind of congregation that you would like to encounter as a seeker or new believer.
Grace & peace
Jen is an energetic and passionate disciple of Christ who loves to share Jesus with anyone who will listen!