I am sometimes asked a question which might go like this: “Why do you insist that it is important that I attend a local church when I get tremendous enjoyment in often just attending different churches?”
We live in a day which offers the message of the Gospel to the sinner and inspiration to the Christian in a vast variety of ways such as the internet, radio, television, cd’s, MP3 files, and on and on it goes!
Well, I wanted to take a few moments to share some thoughts regarding the importance and value of regularly attending a local church. You may know of more reasons, but for now here are a few.
1. A place to call “home” – “Home” is usually where the “rubber meets the road”. We get to know our “family” and they get to know our strengths and weaknesses; and as “iron sharpens iron” we become stronger both in the short and long term.
2. Accountability and Encouragement – A home church becomes a place for accountability (continuing the thought from the previous point), and also is a great place for receiving encouragement from brothers and sisters in our family.
3. Pastoral Care – We all encounter times of crisis such as sickness, deaths, divorce, family events, as well as times of joy such as marriages, job promotions, etc. It’s wonderful to share these events with our families, and, of course, it’s always so comforting to have the local family of God surrounding you with prayers and support.
4. A storehouse for regular tithes/offerings – Where would the local church be without regular tithes and offerings from its members and adherents? Basically, wasting time with fundraiser after fundraiser to fund the church ministries. Tithing was commanded “before” the giving of the law, during the law, and was never stopped at the time of Christ even though the opportunity was there. Any media ministry that encourages the sending of tithe to them instead of the local church is doing a disservice to God and His people.
5. A place to get involved with a ministry on a consistent basis – As part of a community of believers, there is something powerful about having the faithful, consistent witness of a person in ministry not only in the good times, but also in the tough times. The local church is also where most spiritual gifts can reach their full potential. Impressionable children and youth often look up to those in ministry as examples for their own lives when they are young and adopt them as mentors as they grow older.
6. Respectability and acceptance in ministry endeavors – Most pastors want to know what home church a person attends when they are asking for a place and opportunity to minister in the church or community. To most pastors, commitment to a local church shows a teachable and servant spirit. In watching over the flock under their care, they are careful who speaks into the lives of their congregation.
7. Gives the local church stability for more effective and impactful ministry – The church knows who can be depended upon for financial and ministry support. If everyone moved from church to church, there would be no opportunity for effective ministry whatsoever, and churches would have to close the doors due to lack of faithful attendees.
Well, these are just a few reasons for the value of being committed to a local church and, no doubt, there are many more. I trust these will be of assistance to the pastor confronted with this question and others asking this question!
And, of course…there’s always this powerful scripture from the Word in Hebrews 10:25 (NKJV), “ not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Blessings in Christ,
Bruce Rabon, State Bishop