We live in a society and culture today in which Christians no longer see church attendance or involvement as either necessary or even desirable. This begs the question: Why should Christians go to church? The last two months I wrote about the importance and necessity of corporate worship and about nurture and ministry among believers. The third reason we gather as a church is to reach out. This may seem counterintuitive at first but everyone wants to be part of something whether it’s a sports team, a social club, a political party, or anything where they feel accepted and included. The tighter knit the group, the more desirable inclusion in that group becomes. When members of a group have a casual attitude and questionable commitment toward their group then why would others be motivated to join that group? The more excited we are about gathering as a church the more others will want to be a part of it. Once again Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” This kind of love is very attractive to others but how can this love be evident if we don’t gather together?
When we gather as a church we also pool our resources, both financial and spiritual. The great task that is set before us is to make disciples of Jesus Christ and the first step in making disciples is sharing the Gospel with the lost. Like any task this is best accomplished through the work of many hands. Whether we are going or sending (those don’t have to be mutually exclusive), there is strength in numbers. Furthermore, every movement needs a base of operations, a place where people can go and get resupplied. The local church serves this purpose. The local church also serves as a support base for those who are “going and making disciples” whether it’s local, national, or international. Paul’s reliance on local churches as a support base is evident throughout the New Testament. He relied on local churches for financial, emotional, and spiritual support. However, that support would be unreliable at best coming from a church that was not committed to gathering together. Paul wrote to the church at Philippi:
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you…Because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ…And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and the praise of God (Philippians 1:3-11)
Paul did not write this to any one individual, but to the entire church body. This is a picture of a church that is committed to Jesus Christ and to each other that God used for His glory.
Adam Davis, Senior Pastor FBC Archer City, TX