Love Your Local Church
Have you turned on the news lately? When I hear about another shooting, sex scandal, political bash, or crisis of some kind, it’s easy to get depressed. Needless to say, things are pretty terrible in the world.
The present culture is one of selfies, YOLO, and “Imma do me. You do you.” It’s not a godless culture. Rather, it’s an idolatrous one. You are god if you want to be. You get to decide for yourself what is right and wrong. Truth is what you want it to be. Postmodernism is rampant. It’s everyone for themselves. As Paul mentioned, “Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things” (Phil. 3:19).
We all know this. Another article explaining how awful things are won’t help any. Don’t worry. I’m not going to further explain how bad things are. We get that. Let’s talk about what can actually make a difference. Instead of loading this blog post with the terrible symptoms of the culture (like you’ll see on the news) I want to offer something you can do about it—love your local church.
But I hate going to church…
For starters, if you’re a Christian, you better be involved in a local church. I understand that for personal reasons there may be seasons where you need to find “the right one.” Or maybe you’re in a super small town and there just isn’t a church in your community yet. I get that. But it better be for a short season and good reason.
Those who love God love the local church. You simply cannot say you’re a follower of Christ, yet never plug into a local church. If you hate going to church, either start a new one you’ll love, or humble yourself.
Some say, “Well, I don’t need to be in a church to be a Christian.” I’ve even heard, “I don’t have to read the Bible everyday to be a Christian.” First, I’d say hearing that makes you sound unregenerate. But I mean, I guess you don’t have to do those things, but you get to. Why wouldn’t you? God absolutely loves these things, why shouldn’t we if we love God?
I don’t have to hang out with my wife every single day, learn more about her, or have a conversation with her to be married technically. But I get to. It would be odd for me to say that I love my wife yet ignore her, ignore what she loves, and never spend time with her.
God loves the church. In fact, Psalm 22:3 tells us, “God is enthroned on the praises (some translations say inhabits the praises) of Israel. “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matt. 18:20). “We are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph. 2:22). This is where God is and what God is doing. The church is important to him. It should be to us. This is undoubtedly clear throughout Scripture. If we love him, we need to love what he loves, and do what he says to do.
Serving your local church will accomplish more than your opinions ever will.
It’s not that all opinions are bad. Not everyone’s philosophy deserves to be dismissed either. Only, these rarely produce change. We should discuss the change we can produce if we’re going to complain about the culture. Yeah, things are bad. So let’s partner and do something about it. Let’s be the church.
God has created and designed the local church for many reasons. I believe the main one is to bring God’s kingdom to earth—to invade the darkness—to produce good change. When God’s people gather to worship, it produces change.
The world and the church are like separate kingdoms ruled by separate kings. We can go into the world, but we’re not to be of the world. We are to be holy, separate, different. The world and the church will not look the same, nor function the same. I’m one that believes the church is better than the world. And I know which kingdom remains in the end.
Sure, it may feel weird and difficult to voluntarily see each other every weekend, share money, and submit ourselves to one another, but it’s for our own good and the good of those around us. If everyone joined a local church it would produce the biggest shift our culture has ever seen.
Instead of spreading your thoughts, opinions, and philosophy all over the internet, get involved with your local church to do something about it. To be honest, it’s hard for me to work with people that know everything that’s wrong, yet do nothing about it. I’d even submit they have no right talking about what’s wrong if they do nothing about it. They’re part of the problem.
God has gifted each local church with unique gifts and abilities.
This is the kind of thing that pumps me up! Few things trump collaborating with Christians that love God and want to see his kingdom come! I’ll chat about this all night if you want.
We should be all ears to the needs of the community with all hands on deck.
Each church will go about this differently, and I’ve learned to appreciate this. Some churches involve their people in different ways than other churches. This is totally cool. God deserves glory for this creativity.
At CrossPoint Lindsborg, our Grow Group ministry is our main vehicle for getting things done. When we see a need in the community, we let one of our Grow Groups tackle it. Our people recognize specific needs in our city, then share it with others in their Grow Group, so they can collaborate as the church to do something about it. As long as portions of our city are “adopted” by our Grow Groups, our whole church will be actively making a difference.
Other churches may have one or two people to take on everyone’s good ideas, but in this way we equip everyone’s good idea. Not every church has to function the way we do. However, we get stuff done and we are growing this way.
God has gifted each local church in some way. It’s up to each to discover how God has called them to make a difference. God’s kingdom will come when local churches function like local churches. In this way, our opinions don’t stop as opinions. Our philosophy doesn’t stop as philosophy. Pointing out the problem can lead to a real discussion with your church about what difference you can make.
We can all agree things are bad. Let’s do something about it. Get into a local church and partner with your brothers and sisters. Your church will be stronger with you in it, and you will be stronger in it. We are made to be a body of believers with Christ as the head. We can’t solve all the problems, or completely fix this broken earth. However, we can be the light and make a difference.
Soon the kingdom of God will be fully established on a new earth, where there won’t be anymore fake or depressing news.