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
I am blessed to be united with a wonderful church. I love the teaching. I love the integrity of the leadership. I love the spirit that exudes from the ministers. And I know I’m blessed. Not from anything I’ve done. Sweet hubby and I were gently led to our new home and are profoundly grateful. But I promise, this isn’t an advertisement for our congregation.
Learning that believers try to muscle their way through their lives without that net of like-minded believers supporting and encouraging them makes me sad. At the root, that’s what church is supposed to be.
There are so many verses that Paul writes, specifically about the body of believers:
- Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. 1Thes. 5:11
- Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord Eph. 5:19
- Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Col 3:16
It’s clear that we are supposed to get together regularly, for teaching, encouragement, singing, sharing items of thanksgiving. And I’ll go a step further (though this is my own interpretation) that Christians avoiding any type of church or meeting of believers are not only hurting themselves, they’re not obeying the plain instructions in the Epistles.
Don’t get me wrong – not judging! I’ve been there. I know how hard it is to go to church sometimes. Attending makes us vulnerable. Puts us in a place of trusting people we don’t know, to be the Christians they say they are. And that uncomfortable feeling multiplies exponentially when we’ve been hurt by Christians who let their earthly nature take over. Why go through that again?
The weight of these verses directly applies to that question. No church is perfect, just like no Christian is perfect. And sticking around any fellowship for long will likely reveal people that aren’t trustworthy, that gossip, that have hidden agendas. Dealing with that person builds character and could make a huge difference in the person’s life.
While switching to a different fellowship isn’t an ideal choice, it can be the best, especially if the person who has all the problems is also the leader of the church. By all means, though, don’t stop going entirely. Not having a body of believers ready to surround you doing the tumultuous times of your life hurts you far too much.
Your turn: What do you love about your church or one you’ve ever visited?