“24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” –Hebrews 10:24-25 (HCSB)
Institutions have fallen on hard times. My Mom works at a bank and sees a cultural shift of banking without a bank. Recent data shows that “Churchless” population in America has grown by nearly a third over the last decade. Many today want a relationship with Christ without a local church. Just twenty years ago one out of seven Americans had never been to church before, today it is one in five. There are aspects of church life that can be obtained without ever going to church like attending a small group, listening to a sermon, and reading Christian literature. So what is the big deal, why should I go? Let me give you a few good reasons:
· Church attendance is an act of obedience. The Lord said if you love me keep my commands (John 14:15). We can’t just read the parts written in red and think we have it covered. The Words of the entire bible are of equal importance and need our attention.
· Godly relationships. Churches provide a place to connect with others who experience similar challenges and seek similar life goals, a place where people know they belong. Remember iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17)!
· Doing good. While most of us are self-centered, many of us also have a desire to make a difference for good in the world. We can sometimes do this alone, but it is more powerful in community. Churches organize and facilitate abundant good works that affect the world in large and small ways. Take our church for example we have outreach events like Battery Saturday, Griefshare, Surviving the Holidays, Kids Harvest, etc.… One snowflake is beautiful and unique, but many snowflakes joined together can cause an avalanche of good works!
· Peace. In a culture fact paced and endless noisy culture, churches provide a place where people can be still and silent in God’s presence. Churches are one of the few places where a person can seek emotional and spiritual sanctuary form the daunting pressures of the day.
· Worship. Being part of church community, people can unite with others in humble worship, recalibrating their focus away from self-centeredness and distraction.
· Wisdom. Information is abundant but insight is rare! Biblical knowledge applied into daily living is more rare. Churches often provide genuine wisdom to people through a variety of resources, forums, and interactions. Engaging with a local church will allow one to learn more about God, themselves, and the world.
· Witness. Christians have a responsibility to share their knowledge of and experience of Jesus Christ with others who do not know him. One of the best tools for evangelism is for others to see Christians treating one another in a loving manor (John 13:35). Christ centered love for one another makes all the difference in evangelism. Why would anyone listen to our message of love and unity if we can’t love and forgive one another in Christ?