It has become somewhat trendy for people to say, “I love Jesus, but I just don’t love Christians. They drive me insane.”
Here’s my question for them: How can you love God, whom you can’t see, and not love his people, whom you can see? The apostle John wrote, “If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead” (1 John 3:14 NLT).
The church exists for three reasons: the exaltation of God, the edification of the saints and the evangelization of the world. A simple way to remember it is upward, inward and outward. Yet there’s a growing trend of people attending church less often, not more.
Statistics show that those who attended church every week are now attending three times a month. And people who were going to church twice a month are now showing up once a month. Those who attended once a month now go about six times a year.
What if we were to apply the same concept to joining the gym? Let’s say that you want to get in shape, so you join a gym and show up once a week. Will that benefit you? Maybe a little, but not a lot. What if you went to the gym twice a week? That may start to benefit you. And if you go three times a week, well, that’s a slam dunk. Of course, you still have to work out while you’re there.
Now, what if you went to the gym once a month? Would that benefit you? No, it really wouldn’t. How about once a year? No, not at all. In fact, a lot of gyms now build their business models on the idea that people will join the gym, usually right after Christmas, and never come back again.
A survey found that among parents who attend church regularly, 72 percent of their children also will attend regularly as young adults. When only the father attends church regularly, 55 percent of children will remain faithful in their church attendance. If only the mother attends regularly, 15 percent of children will remain faithful in going to church. But if neither mother or father attends regularly, only 6 percent of children will remain faithful in church attendance. So don’t send your kids to church; bring your kids to church.
Not only is it a blessing spiritually to be in church, but studies have shown that it’s even good for you physically. For example, heart surgery patients who draw comfort from their faith have a significantly higher survival rate than those who don’t. People who attend church have lower blood pressure than those who don’t. Regular church attenders experience less depression than nonattenders. And suicide is four times higher among those who don’t go to church than those who do.
So church is good for you spiritually, and it’s good for you physically.
Some people say they’re not into “organized religion.” My question is what are they into, then? Disorganized chaos? God is a God of order. In fact, the Bible says, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40 NKJV).
I don’t think of the church as so-called organized religion. Rather, it’s a place where we can encounter God and his people. Some say they can commune with God while they’re surfing or golfing or hiking or doing whatever. I hope they will. We should talk to God wherever we go. But let’s not do that instead of going to church.
This apparently was a problem in the first century as well. In the New Testament book of Hebrews we read, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (10:25 NLT).
Jesus started the church, and Jesus loves the church. He started only one organization when he walked this planet, and it’s called the church.
The church is for every Christian, and every Christian should be in church on a regular basis. Every believer should be a vital, functioning part of a local church, not merely as a spectator, but as a participant. Of course, there can be extenuating circumstances. Some people are housebound and can’t get to church. But if able-bodied believers are not going to church, that is an indication to me that something is wrong spiritually.
Some people like to engage in what can be described as church hopping. They’re connoisseurs of sorts. They love the worship at one church, they really like the preaching at another church, and they think the children’s ministry can’t be beat at another church. So one weekend they’ll go to one church, the next weekend they’ll go to another, and the third weekend they’ll go to another. And on the fourth weekend they’ll just watch something online.
That isn’t a good thing to do, because church is not just a place to attend. It’s a place to participate. You become a part of a family. It’s in the church that you find accountability. It’s in the church that you develop and use your gifts. It’s in the church that you’re taught consistent theology.
Get plugged into the church. If you don’t, you’ll miss out on so much, and you won’t be able to be part of what God is doing.
Every church is flawed, because people like us are in them. We’re not perfect. We fall short. We mess up. We don’t always meet God’s standards. But this is God’s family, and we need to be an active part of this family. It’s still the best family going, and God wants all of us in it.
Originally published at WND: https://www.wnd.com/2019/05/the-best-family-going
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