By: Dr. Dillon Burroughs | © 2018
A local church sign read: “Don’t give up on life. Let our church help.” The church clearly meant to let its people help those who are struggling. Others humorously saw the church claiming to help people give up on life.
Unfortunately, too many people see the local church as the last place they would turn to for help. With its notable divisions, broken leaders, and headlines of scandals, it seems easier to find help on our own or with a few friends rather than within the walls of local congregation.
Yet the Bible is clear the church still matters. Despite its flaws, local church involvement offers at least four important aspects to our spiritual lives.
The Church Is Important to Jesus
First, the church is important to Jesus. The New Testament calls the church the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-23). If someone’s speaks badly of a person’s wife, it is usually considered offensive. Why would we speak negatively about the “wife” of Jesus?
Yes, there are problems in the church—every church. But it does not logically follow that problems in a church mean we should avoid it completely. Instead, we are called to participate in it and make it better. If you are a believer, you technically can’t leave the church in the general sense. You are part of it.
The Church Is Where Encouragement Occurs
Second, the church is where encouragement happens. Hebrews 10:24-25 teaches, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Yes, some will find reasons to stop meeting together, but God’s Word calls us to a higher standard. Instead, we are to meet together for encouraging one another. You need to encourage others and be encouraged by them. This can’t happen without being together. You can communicate from a distance, yet there is more impact when encouragement occurs in person.
The Church Provides Spiritual Family
Third, the church provides spiritual family. 1 Peter 2:17 shares, “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers.” Believers in Jesus are not just members of the same club; they are part of the same family. We are brothers and sisters in Christ.
Family members who love one another make special efforts to meet for special occasions. The same should be true of our spiritual family. We are called to treat one another as brothers and sisters, looking forward to time together to enjoy one another’s presence.
The Church Gives Compassion to Those in Need
Many noble causes exist to meet the needs of the less fortunate. However, the church comprises the world’s largest provider of compassion to the needy. Combined, local churches have provided more meals, clean water, clothing, medical care, disaster relief, education, and counseling than any other organization on the planet. Why would we not want to be part of the good the church is doing worldwide?
The church is also called to fulfill the Great Commission—making disciples of all people through sharing the good news of the risen Jesus, baptizing believers, and teaching them God’s Word. This requires teamwork. We need one another to obey the one another commands of Scripture.
The church is not a building but the people in the building. As a result, the church will never be perfect in this life, but we serve a perfect Lord who connects us together to help one another and to show His love to those in our community and our world.