The Importance of Connecting to a Local Church

Megan B. Brown
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When we have given our lives to Jesus, we gain a new family. We gain the church and we “sign up” to be part of it through serving and prioritizing the task of creating Christian community. The church is made up of people who have been saved, who have repented and put their trust in the risen Jesus. They have been baptized in faith and gather together to worship God, proclaim the gospel, disciple one another, serve their communities, and evangelize the lost. The church is a people. It is not an event, a building, or a singular denomination. The church is, and always will be, God’s Plan A for carrying the redemptive story of Jesus to the four corners and we are called to participate.

The Church as a Body

First Corinthians 12:21–26 says,

“The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one is honored, all rejoice together.”

Paul compares the church to a body. Just as our body is made up of all different parts, the church is made up of all different people. Each part, or person, is a functioning member, moving and participating, forming beautiful imagery of connectivity, unity, and oneness. In the church, there is also a very present theme of needing each other, being unable to dismiss one part or do without another. We all bring a vibrancy to the body of Christ, and learning to love people well begins here.

Finding a New Church Is Hard, Important Work

I can acknowledge the hardships of stepping up to do this hard work. Finding a new church home can be daunting. You may or may not have access to churches in your denomination. The churches near to you might still be a fair distance away from your home. Or the churches around might not have a children’s ministry or the programs you’re looking for. Social anxiety, PTSD, or other hindrances may place obstacles in committing to a local church. However, there is so much value in striving toward committing to a local church. And it is a matter of obedience. The book of Acts is one of my favorite books in the Bible. Why? Well, let’s review a bit. There are three overarching narratives in the Bible. The first is the entire Old Testament, the story and history of God’s people—who they were and what they did. Specifically, it is the recorded history of God’s faithfulness to His people.

The second narrative is the four gospel accounts in the New Testament. These chapters outline Jesus’ virgin birth, sinless life, sacrificial ministry, and miraculous resurrection.

The third narrative is the birth of the early church, described in Acts, and continued in the epistles. Jesus had promised the Holy Spirit in John 14, and in the beginning of Acts, before Christ ascends to heaven, He tells His disciples something amazing. In Acts 1:8, Jesus says, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” After He said this, Jesus ascended, and the church was born. The church has a function—to be witnesses to the ends of the earth— and we have “signed up” to join the action. YES!

When we have given our lives to Jesus, we gain a new family.

When we commit to a local church, to make the decision to attend, submit, and participate in a local body of believers, we obey God’s calling to belong to His people and submit to Jesus’ establishment of a public group of people who serve as witnesses. In this group, we affirm each other’s faith in Christ, agree to the lifelong commitment of discipleship, and place ourselves under the leadership of elders and ministry leaders who help us be accountable to biblical living and belief.

Ultimately, being a member of a local church and being shepherded and cared for by leaders God has established is His design. You can watch all the online sermons taught by all the headline-making leaders and preachers, and still be spiritually starving. You can spend your Lord’s Day deep in personal devotions or leading a family reading plan. But if you are not part of the living, breathing, local body of Christ, you are most definitely outside of the will of God. There is no such thing as a perfect church, nor is there any shortage of church-based scandals. But nevertheless, there is a church family God has specifically laid out for you, a place to be served and to serve. A place you belong.

For Further Reading:

Know What You Signed Up For

by Megan B. Brown

A field guide for military spouses who did not know what they’d signed up for. “You knew what you signed up for!” Megan B....

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