“I don’t need to go to church to love Jesus!” This is the consensus reached by many people that I get to talk with on a regular basis. Church is boring. Church is for women. We don’t really feel the Holy Spirit moving in Church. I don’t agree with the church theologically. We don’t like the style of music, preaching or teaching. The church doesn’t offer a program that caters to our needs or wants. Church is pointless. I am not challenged in Church. Church doesn’t offer an answer to the questions that I have. Church doesn’t really benefit me.
We currently live in a society where people would rather watch Joel Osteen than be with their eternal family, in which people would rather be served than serve others, in which Christians would rather feel good than live up to their great calling in Christ Jesus. We live the Christian life, a life with which we are called to give everything, in convenience and according to our own desired lifestyle.
I was recently at Starbucks talking with a friend of mine about this very issue. He does not attend church on a regular basis and feels as if he can serve God better outside the umbrella of the local church. I will not doubt that we can do work for the Kingdom apart from the local church. My issue, and my question, was whether or not such a concept could be rationalized Biblically.
This, however, is not a new issue for the Church. It was a major issue even in the early church. The author of Hebrews writes,
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way He has opened for us through the curtain (that is, His flesh), 21 and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. 23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, 25 not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:19-25 HCSB)
Here is the bottom line directly from scripture, which we hold as our final authority. We can enter the church building with the community of believers in confidence and in boldness. We can do this because of Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary. We are to allow God to cleanse us and hold onto that forgiveness without wavering. Allow God to change you and do not continue in your sin! We are to be concerned for one another, not ourselves, and promote love and good works. WE ARE NOT TO STAY AWAY FROM OUR WORSHIP MEETINGS. We serve God in the presence of community and under the umbrella of the local church. That is the way in which our God designed work within His kingdom. To break apart from the church is to act against scripture.
Addressing the complaints
“Church is boring…”
Imagine for just one moment that all of those who consider themselves not boring would commit to serving in a local church. Even if a church was boring, it would become fun because of a new found commitment in the hearts of the younger generations. To put it simply, it is the fault of the people if church becomes boring. Do not run from it, work to fix it.
“Church is for women.”
So, set an example within the church as to what it means to be a masculine follower of Jesus (men only please).
“I don’t feel the Holy Spirit in church.”
“Encourage each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” We attend church to serve, not to be served. Stop being so self centered. Stop expecting some kind of extreme religious experience. Serve your God and serve your eternal family.
“I don’t agree with the church theologically.”
If this is the case, then you have something to both teach and something to learn. This is more of a reason for you to be in church. Always compare what you hear to scripture.
“I don’t like the style of music, preaching or teaching.” “The church doesn’t offer a program that caters to our needs or wants.” “I’m not challenged in church.” “Church really doesn’t benefit me.”
Get over yourself. Again, you are there to serve your God, by knowing Him more and by loving and encouraging others.
“I am not challenged in Church.” “Church doesn’t offer an answer to the questions that I have.”
This is sad. Find a local church that will answer your questions according to scripture, but do not forsake the assembly. Perhaps there is a need for an intellectual influence in your church with which you can contribute significantly. Nevertheless, stay committed because it is commanded, for the sake of our brothers and sisters in the faith.
“People in church are hypocrites!”
Everyone on Earth is a hypocrite. The difference is that people in church are hopefully trusting in God for forgiveness. Stay committed.
We simply cannot serve God to our fullest ability unless we are a part of the right scripture-based local church. Do not forsake the assembly. Life is not about you.