During 35 years in ministry I’ve heard every excuse known to man about why people can’t, or won’t, get involved in a church.
Usually the excuses grow out of two main ideas:
- “I don’t have the time, energy, desire, etc.” or
- “Churches aren’t worth my time, money and involvement. Too many hypocrites. Too much disappointment.”
That’s why 80% of American churches are either plateaued or in decline. Many who claim to be followers of Jesus just don’t care to be involved in a local church.
So, why should an admitted Christ-follower attend church this year?
- Jesus died and was resurrected to build an assembly of people to spread the message about Him on earth – “on this rock I will build my church“ (See Matthew 16:13-19 NIV). The word “church” here is from the Greek word ekklesian which means “an assembly” or “the called out”. Believers on Jesus who aren’t involved in the assembly have missed the point. It’s all about people not just you.
- Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to operate in the assembly. While all born-again believers have the Holy Spirit living inside them, the assembly is the environment where He works through the spiritual gifts given to each believer. If one is never assembled with other believers, he or she misses the full impact of the Spirit’s help. No believer can mature without the assembly. (See 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19 & 12:7-31)
- Jesus set up the assembly as an environment of love and mutual help. He designed the assembly to spur us on toward “love and good deeds” and to “encourage one another”. So believers are warned, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.” (See Hebrews 10:24-25)
- Jesus loves people so much that He died and was raised for all – and he expects us to have the same love for the assembly that He showed by His death and resurrection: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -Jesus (John 13:34-35 NIV)
So, how can one imitate the life and teachings of Jesus without ever showing up to be part of His assembly?