Sunday

Why You Need Church (and I Do, Too)


My husband and I became Christians in our late teen years. Led to Christ through the efforts of caring, soul-winning members of two different local churches, we were immediately adopted into God’s family. These kind people who loved Jesus also loved us. They overlooked our rough edges and immature ways and took time corporately and individually to teach us what it looked like to live the faith life. 

We’ve walked with God for almost forty years now. Second only to accepting Christ as our Savior, being active members of a local church has been the single best life decision we’ve ever made. 

Here’s why: 

1. Church helps us gain wisdom and discernment. My Toastmasters club teaches me how to speak effectively. My dental hygiene study club keeps my professional knowledge up to date. An occasional nutrition class reminds me to make healthy food choices. Only the church helps me learn how to make wise parenting decisions, live peacefully with my spouse, care for my aging parents, pray with power, share my faith, and make God-centered life decisions. 

At every new stage of life, God met our family’s need for wisdom and knowledge through his Body, the church. In the early days of our parenting, godly couples several years ahead of us invited us to a Bible study. “Bring your baby,” they said. “She won’t be a problem.” How did they know we were lonely, overwhelmed, and struggling? Maybe they didn’t, but God did, and he opened their hearts to invite us. That study, and the fellowship and friendship it provided, gave us the hope and help we desperately needed. 

A Growing Kids God’s Way class taught us that strong families begin with strong marriages. A Let Prayer Change Your Life study cracked the door on the power of prayer. A Love and Respect study helped us identify sources of conflict that had troubled our marriage since its early days. In every age and stage of life, the church has met our need for guidance through a class, a resource, or a relationship. 

2. Church helps us connect with like-minded people and those with similar goals and values. In a church, certain standards of thought and conduct are understood. Parents look out for each other’s kids and blow the whistle if they see something concerning. They’re not afraid to challenge our kids if they hear words or see behavior that contradicts God’s Word. 

They provide invaluable reinforcement in the weary trenches of parenting. They bolster our faith with their examples of standing for righteousness even when it costs something. They provide a peer group for wholesome activities and meaningful pursuits. 

3. Church attendance is good for your health. Laura Rowley, in her article, “5 Surprising Scientific Reasons to Attend Church” writes, “Tyler J. VanderWeele, an epidemiologist with the Harvard School of Public Health, conducted a study of regular church-goers over two decades with his colleagues. He found that people who attend religious services at least once a week enjoy better blood pressure, healthier cardiovascular, immune and endocrine functions and less coronary artery disease than those who don’t attend at all”. 

The article also notes, “People who go to services regularly are less likely to be depressed. A survey of nearly 100,000 women over 50 who attended religious services found they were 56 percent more likely to have a positive outlook on life and 27 percent less likely to be depressed, according to a study in the Journal of Religion and Health. 

4. Church knits people’s hearts together unlike anything else. Because we share the same Holy Spirit, our friendships are deeper, our conversations more intentional, and our time together richer and more life-changing. We’ve discovered the collective joy of serving our community, each other, and the Lord. Nothing builds a friendship like packing and inspecting 2,600 Operation Christmas Child boxes in a single afternoon. Or packing and delivering 100 Thanksgiving food boxes. Or volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center or a homeless woman’s shelter. 

The satisfaction of working together on projects like these makes shallow, self-centered pursuits pale in comparison. At the end of the day, the shared experience of laboring together for a cause greater than ourselves builds eternal relationships.

5. Church is there for the good times and the bad. We’ve celebrated new babies, graduations, and marriages together. We’ve mourned job losses, cancer, and death. When our family received word while out of the country on a mission trip that my sister-in-law had died of a triple brain aneurysm, we couldn’t make it back in time for the funeral. Members of our church helped make funeral arrangements, fed the family, and stood beside our loved ones in our absence. For one daughter’s wedding, friends baked cakes and pies, tied a hundred bows, and cleaned up late into the night. We’ve done the same for them, with joy. It’s what family does.

6. Church gives us something bigger than ourselves in which to invest our lives. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 4:2 reminds us, “He who has been given a trust must prove faithful.” Each of us have been entrusted with a measure of time, talent, and treasure. One day we’ll give an account of what we did with it. And while there are a thousand good causes, there are also a thousand empty pursuits. 

Christ gave believers one assignment—to build his kingdom by pointing others to himself. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;” (Matthew 28:19-20). God’s kingdom is the only one that promises eternal rewards and endless joy. Every time we give, teach, pray, and serve in God’s name, we invest in people—people who will live forever. When all is said and done, this is the most meaningful and significant way to spend and be spent. 

These six reasons why we need church are a small sample of the hundreds I could describe. I’d like to conclude with perhaps the greatest reason: We need church because God is there. Yes, God lives in us, so, technically, he is present wherever we are, but when we gather as a body of believers for the purpose of worshiping him, his presence is almost palpable. He speaks through the music and the preaching. He draws us to his side through the collective prayers of his children. He inspires us through stories of others’ faithfulness. We are stronger, wiser, kinder, sweeter when we sit in our Father’s house, surrounded by our brothers and sisters, for the sole purpose of drawing closer to Him. 

Why, oh why, would you want to miss this? 

If you regularly attend a church, don’t stop. If you don’t, perhaps it’s time to give it a try. What do you have to lose? And what might you gain?

Now it’s your turn to share a reason why we need church. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. If you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online and leave a comment. 



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4 comments:

  1. May I share this post on my church's FB page?

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    1. Absolutely! I'd be honored for you to share it. Blessings to you!

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  2. When we ware thinking about about having our aging mom move in with my brother or me, we discussed all the friends she has in her community. Some of whom she's had over sixty years, longer than she's known us. Those longtime friends were from her church and had been there through raising her grown children and their families, her husband's death, and the many hospital visits that are now happening. One of our most basic needs is knowing we have someone with us. It's often how God lets us know He hasn't left us alone.
    But to have this assurance, you have to be the assurance to others.

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    Replies
    1. How wise you and your brother are, Tim, to consider that super-important support network that, often times, is closer to us that even our biological family. A healthy church really does become the hands and feet of Jesus. Blessings to you, for knowing this and taking it into consideration as you made difficult decisions for your mom.

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