I'm a Christian
According to the Bible, if you have been spiritually born into God's family (a la John 3), then you have spiritually become part of the church which the Bible calls the 'Body of Christ' on earth. So if you have become part of the Body spiritually, then that spiritual reality should be manifested in a physical and practical connection to a local church. Connection with God, of course, is the priority. As soon as you have experienced this spiritual birth into God, or have begun to consider it, you need to seek out a connection with other people who share this spiritual life, and that by definition is the church.
So, we always have a simple question for Christians we meet ---- Are you committed to a local church?
If your answer is YES, we'll say, GOOD!
But we'll also qualify that by saying it's a good thing as long as a few conditions are met. There are a lot of groups that call themselves churches, but are pretty far from the Bible's description of a church. Here are some key things to consider about any church before you commit your spiritual welfare to it:
- Does the church accept the Bible as the authoritative Word of God, and teach it as such?
- Are you being led to regularly read, study and grow in your knowledge of the Bible and your experience of the Spirit-led life?
- Does the church draw you into close fellowship relationships through a small group or otherwise?
- Are you being drawn into heart-felt worship and learning how to be a worshiper in your everyday life?
- Are you encouraged into roles of active service so you can be a help to the group and develop ministry skills?
- Are you taught to initiate sharing your faith with others in a bold, skillful and sensitive way?
If these conditions are being reasonably met (and no church is perfect in doing this), then we encourage you to plunge in and fully commit yourself to your church. You'll get the most out of it by giving the most you can to it. Experiencing conflict is not a sign you should move on. Rather, it is a sign that real community is happening. Learn how to work through disagreements and grow deeper in your spiritual community by following the principle laid down in the Bible -- 'speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.' Ephesians 4:15
If your answer is NO, we'll say, WHY NOT?
Participating in church fellowship is really not an option. We're commanded to do it by the Bible. 'Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.' Hebrews 10:25. We put ourselves in real spiritual jeopardy if we allow ourselves to drift away.
So, why are you disconnected at the moment? Is it because you've lost steam in your spiritual life? Did you have an unresolved conflict? Have you begun to do things that you know you shouldn't that cloud your relationship with the Lord and other believers? Do you think you're too mature to need it? Are you substituting some small unaccountable group for church? Have you just become too lazy to get up and get there? Or what? We can come up with a lot of reasons to pull away from church. Sorry, none of them fly.
We encourage you to really think this through and take the action needed to either get reconnected where you know you should be, or find the place where God wants you to be. If you feel there are issues involved, deal with them, or get help doing so. We'll be glad to help you sort through this if you like. Just contact us, In the meantime, you might want to check out our GROW page. It will give you some spiritual tracks and encouragement.