What Are You Getting Out of Church?
What are you getting out of Church?
In today’s world everyone has a full schedule, a myriad of activities, an exceedingly large network of acquaintances on Facebook or otherwise and an overwhelming amount of information to consume throughout the day. In this technological age we have access, via the Internet, to a wealth of resources pertaining to any matter we might wish to learn about, as well as a public forum to find opinions that validate our own. Some who have grown up in church struggle to find the motivation to continue churchgoing traditions. New believers looking to join a fellowship may question whether the preaching is adequate or the people are nice enough to warrant their membership. Some have decidedly left a weekly gathering on account of mere exhaustion or for lack of being “spiritually fed.” It may be possible that some will read this article out of curiosity, wondering if they have been missing some element of worship at their home church. Such anxieties leave us with a question. “Is Church necessary?”
The short answer is “yes.” Still, that is not enough to settle the issue. But might I reword the question? “What is the Christian supposed to experience in participation with the body of Christ?” One popular expectation is that the pastor is to use the pulpit to evangelize and win souls, but this may leave the rest of his audience bored after accepting the Gospel. Indeed, there is more at work each Sunday than this. In his book, Ordinary, Michael Horton presents a fuller picture of an ordinary church service.
“God shows up. He judges and justifies, draws sinners
and gathers His sheep to His Son by His Word and Spirit.
He unites them to Christ, bathes and feeds them, teaches
and tends them along their pilgrim way. He expands His
empire even as He deepens it.”
Notice, there is no magnificent event in view here. Instead, it is the regular steadfast life of the Christian in fellowship with the Body of Christ that produces these fruits. As the believer is subjected to the regular teaching of God’s Word, he/she is being “built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph. 2:22). One does not attend church to be repeatedly “saved” but to be “equipped.” Jesus saved those who believe for a purpose. The teaching and preaching that go on at church are to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, and for building up the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12). You are called to be united with every other believer and to be of service in the Kingdom of God. A man is only called a soldier when he joins the military, so too one can only be called a Christian if they have become part of the bride of Christ, the Church.
Unfortunately, there is no church model that achieves this equipping perfectly. Still, it is important to ask, “Am I receiving the full counsel of God?” "Is the Bible being faithfully preached where I am?" If so, how can you afford to lose such training? No member of any team enters the field without practice, and the soldier mentioned above would not dare enter the heat of battle--much less succeed--without training. So as you consider a church gathering or whether to attend at all, consider the work God could perform through you this week. For your battle has only begun.