Often these days we hear people say that chuch is not important, because it is enough to be an individual Christian. They say that the week is so filled with activity that Sunday morning is often the only time they have to rest or have "family time." So why is Church important?
First of all we need to understand what we are talking about when we say church. It is not a building, although we do call our building church. Church is you and me, it is people, it is people who believe in the one, but triund God.
We often say that we are going to church and while that may be true in the sense of a building as a destination, when we say that we are going to church what we really should be meaning is that we are going to worship. When we go to worhip we are setting aside time for God, it is one of the ways we give to God. We demonstrate what is important to us by what we spend time on and if God is important we ought to be able to routinely set aside Sabbath worship. But some folks say they can worship by themselves, when and where they want. So why is church important?
Well, individual worship is like anything that we try to do individually, it is hard to stay committed and do it regularly. And if worship is important we want to do it regularly. And the best way to stay committed it to do something with an accountability partner. Jesus understood our propensity to wander and our need for support and that is why he sent his disciples out two by two. So we need church to hold us accountable and to encourage us at the appropriate times.
While others keep us accountable, church has another function that helps. Church reminds us what is important and keeps us focused. Jesus was forever teaching lessons that made no earthly sense (it is in giving that you receive, love your enemies, etc). And often Jesus asked his disciples to do mundane things like donkey detail. And Jesus asked that we give up our life to save it. None of those things are easy, but all are what God calls us to do. Let on our own, we do not gravitate to those kinds of things, we want the comfortable or the easy. So, church keeps us on track.
And while all thest things are important, perhaps a more compelling reason that church is important is that God created it. Yep, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth and spread of the church is what the Book of Acts is about. The last part of the Book of Acts tells how the church spread and you and I are the final chapter of Acts. Today we are writing Acts, chapter 29 as we witness to others and "prepare the way" for others to come to the Lord even as we grow in our own discipleship.
Finally, to those who say I need a family time, I would like to offer an alternative: what better family time is there than to put God in the midst of your relationship and come to worhip and study on a weekely basis?
Blessings for the journey!