It’s not in vogue to love the church. All the cool kids are deconstructing and turning their back on religion. They see it as outdated, oppressive, patriarchal… also, scheduled way too early on a Sunday morning.
I sympathize with those who have hearts for justice and want to distance themselves from the institutions that they believe are to blame for hurt and abuse. But throwing out Church will never be the right move.
Here’s seven reasons to love the church.
1. Church is where God is.
You say, “God is everywhere” and “God is with each believer.” Isn’t it just where two or three are gathered, there He is? You’re missing a crucial part: “In His name.” How often do we gather with believers “in the Name of the Lord?” For most Christians it’s once a week at church. And guess what? That’s where God’s presence is. That’s where He can be found. Among the people who showed up. Among those who came to praise. Church is a weekly appointment with the Lord that He puts on the calendar. Now’s the time to RSVP.
2. The Church is unbeatable.
You say, “Aren’t we moving away from religion into a post-Christian society?” You may be, but the Church will be undefeated and everlasting. Jesus said that He was building His Church on a rock, and that the gates of hell wouldn’t prevail against it. There’s nothing that can obliterate the church. The enemy has been trying for 2000 years, and no physical, cultural or social force has managed to wipe it out. Scripture says, “thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.” Victory is assured for the church. Overcoming the opposition is the destiny of the Body of Christ, because Christ is the cornerstone, and there ain’t no shaking Him.
3. Church is an opportunity to restart, reorient and repent.
We’re all sinners in need of God’s grace. Whatever life we’ve been living this week, we can have a fresh start together. Check this out: we can be ministers of the forgiveness of God to one another. When we confess our sins to one another, we can forgive each other and be the ones to deliver the grace of God to one another. Christ says, “Whatever sins you forgive, they are forgiven.” Woah.
4. Church is a party for the Lord.
Church is the place where we get to praise the Lord with the same sort of tools that have been used for millennia: loud instruments. God’s people have been using noisy percussion along with stringed and blown instruments since before the days of Moses. We continue the practice today, because it seems that God enjoys it. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a good voice or not, join in and sing your heart out to the Lord! Our need to party and make a ruckus isn’t a sinful inclination, it’s an instinct that’s meant to be let loose in the house of the Lord!
5. Church rehearses and proclaims the Word of God.
The pulpit is the throne for God’s Word. When we sit under the teaching of Jesus, we become more holy, more wise, and more pure. It fulfills Jesus’s final command: to make disciples here on Earth, and to teach them to obey all that He commanded. A vital Church grows because of the faithful teaching of the Word of Christ and the apostle’s doctrine.
6. Church attendance encourages faithful religion.
Consistency, discipline and faithfulness to the Lord are good things. And spiritual practices that are repeated daily, weekly and yearly make for Christians who follow the Lord even in seasons of silence and drought. Going to gather with the Church builds those spiritual practices, (and is itself a spiritual practice.) 2 Thessalonians says, “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us.” Don’t knock tradition. It’s important. If you really want to make room for the Lord in your life, be faithful, even religious, in seeking Him as a part of your weekly routine.
7. Church disciples the next generation of believers.
Growing up in church made me who I am today. Proverbs speaks to the wisdom of training up children while they are young in the truth, so that they can continue it into adulthood. Modern “wisdom” decries indoctrination and says kids should be left as an empty shell to discover what they were meant to believe later on. Scripture contradicts that advice in the strongest of terms, and teaches that through discipline and instruction children are brought up on the right path. Church is part of that process of imparting truth into the hearts of our kids.
Church is a good thing.
You can’t love Jesus and hate the Church. Jesus loves the Church, and if you’re on his side, you’ll be pro-Church. Give church another shot. It’s worth the mess and the issues. God’s there. He’s worth it.
I’ll leave you with this from Reinhard Bonnke:
“Why go to church? Think of it like this. Candles stand in candlesticks, light bulbs go into light sockets, and trees grow in soil. Without candlesticks, candles would fall over. Without being plugged in, light bulbs would never shine. And without soil, trees would simply die. For Christians, the church is a candlestick, a power source, and somewhere to put down roots – so that you can stand, shine, and grow. Alongside the Bible and prayer, the church is one of the rich resources, which God has given us in our lives as Christians.”