The importance of the local church cannot be understated. “Jesus died for the church,” we are told in the Bible. “The gates of hell will not prevail against the church,” Jesus said. The church is as old as the ministry of Jesus Himself and is a vital part of any believer’s success as well as the success of any Christian family.
Think correctly about the church. It is an assembly of believers. The word itself carries the idea of an assembly and reminds us that a church is more than just a building. It is a local body of believers who have followed Christ in baptism and who are meeting “together” for the purpose of corporate worship, corporate service, and corporate prayer. It is a body of believers meeting together to learn God’s Word and to provoke one another to love and good works. In the book of Acts, we find the local church meeting together for prayer, and they saw miraculous answers. We find them meeting together to learn doctrine and they grew as a result. We find them meeting together to preach the gospel and multitudes came to Christ. We find them meeting together to hear special guest speakers and as a result, many were touched by the lives of great preachers like Paul the Apostle. And the list can go on and on. The local church is important and in order to be a successful believer, one must be active in his local church. Here are a few suggestions and thoughts about our part in the local church.
Choose a church wisely. Just because grandpa laid those bricks with his own sweat and blood does not mean that your attendance there will help you or your family to grow and mature in the faith. Choose a church that provides the best spiritual instruction in every possible way. A pastor who teaches God’s Word in such a way that you can apply it to your daily living is a wonderful pastor to have. A church that includes opportunities for your children to grow spiritually as well as to serve Jesus is a church worth attending. My own children are active in the youth group, enjoy singing with the church, and serve as ushers, van workers, and soul-winners. A church that strengthens and blesses your marriage relation is a wonderful church as well. Look for a church that allows you to grow spiritually but also partners with you in helping your family to succeed.
Attend church faithfully. I think it would be best to attend every service possible. In fact, I center mine and my family’s lives around the church. Some men tell me that they don’t attend Sunday evening services, for instance, because that is their “family night.” Why make the two exclusive? That is the precise reason why we attend. It is a family night! We attend church together. The trip there is special. We talk and listen and on the way home discuss the service and the sermon. The service is a time of learning and growing and worshiping and giving. And we always plan special events following the services. Sunday afternoon we have a home-cooked meal together. We sit and talk and laugh and discuss the services and what we learned. Sunday afternoon is then a quiet time of rest and relaxation and refreshment. Sunday night, we head back to church and afterward we have another meal together and sometimes pair it with a family game or a movie night or even a “let’s have over some close friends night.” That turns things into a family night that includes church.
Some people choose to skip church because of their hobbies. Perhaps it is hunting or golfing or sports or some such. I challenge you in these matters too. If I have to choose between the two, the church is more important. Why? Because I need to grow spiritually in order to know how to best live my life and direct my home and family. I need the strength that comes from fellowshipping with other brothers. My family needs the strength that comes from fellowshipping with other families. I don’t know that I have ever met a man who is a better Christian and who has a better Christian family because he skipped church to hunt or golf. He is typically only a busier man, but not a better man. Many Christians are simply busier, but not better!
God’s plan for me and you includes his church. It is part of His design that we pause to reflect and rest and worship and hear preaching and give. “Be still,” he says, “and know that I am God.” Faithfulness to His church provides this on a weekly basis. It is part of His design that we lead our families to know God and to love Him and to serve Him. Faithfulness to His church is one of the ways that we grow spiritually and one of the ways that we teach our families to do so as well.
It is also part of God’s design that men lead their homes so they can lead in his church. Every church needs faithful and Godly men who can teach others. Every church needs faithful and Godly men who can serve as deacons and elders. The two go hand in hand. If I fail to have the right relationship to Christ and His church, it will have a negative effect on my family. Every statistic says so. Every illustration says so too. If I fail to have a right relationship with my family, that will also have a negative effect on my service in the local church. God’s word makes that abundantly clear too.
So, here is the crux of the matter: a successful Christian will be active in his local church. He will support it. He will give. He will pray. He will be faithful to attend. He will serve. He will help his church to grow and in the process, help his own family to grow as well.
May God help every one of us to be active in our local churches!
Thanks for reading,
Your sincere friend,