Why Is It Necessary for Me to Find and Be Part of a Local Church?
Question from a reader:
In your Heaven book, you say that if we are looking for a Bible-teaching church to contact your ministry. I was brought up in church and have gone to several, but I find the focus seems to be more on social connections and entertainment. I study your books and listen to solid Bible teaching. I do not really understand why I need to find a church, but your book seems to say it is necessary. Can you explain why?
Answer from Brenda Abelein, EPM staff:
Thanks for writing to us for help finding a church. I loved reading your email! It’s wonderful that you are learning and growing from the teaching of various books and listening/watching sermons online. But being part of a community of believers learning to be more like Jesus together is important too. Here is what Randy writes in his book Heaven:
Scripture teaches that we need each other and should not withdraw from each other’s fellowship, instruction, or accountability. It’s unbiblical to imagine that we can successfully seek God on our own (Hebrews10:25). Because we will be part of a community of saints that constitutes the bride of Christ for eternity, and because we will worship and serve him together, to prepare properly for Heaven we must be part of a church now.
Here are a couple of resources where Randy Alcorn talks more about some reasons why it’s important to be involved in a local church:
And see this from A.W. Tozer:
I think the bottom line is that there are so many ways God wants us to grow to be like Him, and many of these can only be learned and experienced as we are in community with others. And likewise, there are also ways He wants to use us to help others grow and mature that they will miss out on if we are not willing to be involved in a church body. So it’s not just all about us. Your knowledge and faith can bless others as well.
Paul David Tripp writes this in his book New Morning Mercies:
One of the themes that courses through the New Testament…is that your walk with God is designed by God to be a community project. Anonymous, consumerist, isolated, independent, self-sufficient, “Jesus and me” Christianity is a distant and distorted facsimile of the faith of the New Testament. You and I simply were not created (“It is not good that the man should be alone”; Gen. 2:18) or re-created in Jesus Christ (“For the body does not consist of one member but of many”; 1 Cor. 12:14) to live all by ourselves. The biblical word pictures of temple (stones joined together to be a place where God dwells) and body (each member dependent on the function of the other) decimate any idea that healthy Christianity can live outside of essential community.
…the Bible is clear. When each part is working properly, the body of Christ grows to maturity in Christ (see Ephesians 4). We each need to live in intentionally intrusive, Christ-centered, grace-driven redemptive community. This community is meant to enlighten and protect. It is meant to motivate and encourage. It is meant to rescue and restore. It is meant to instill hope and courage. It is meant to confront and rebuke. It is meant to guide and protect. It is meant to give vision and sound warning. It is meant to incarnate the love and grace of Jesus when you feel discouraged and alone. It is meant to be a visible representation of the grace of Jesus that is your hope. It is not a luxury. It is a spiritual necessity.
Brenda Abelein works part-time as a ministry assistant at Eternal Perspective Ministries, both as a receptionist and also assisting other staff with projects.