So you’ve been hurt by the church.
Hey, I get it.
I’ve been deeply hurt by false rumors started by so-called “spiritually mature” church people.
I’ve watched the cold and hungry completely overlooked as a church argues over whether or not the senior pastor should wear a tie on Sunday mornings.
And, I’ve also been misled by dogma from the pulpit I later found out wasn’t even in Scripture.
Many times I’ve wondered why I don’t quit church altogether, never to look back. After all, I don’t really need church to have a relationship with Jesus, right?
It breaks my heart to know so many church bodies are squandering their God-given purpose.
That’s why we should never put the foundation of our faith in a group of people, a building, a preacher, a denomination, or anything else.
Our faith is in Christ and His Holy Spirit inspired Scripture.
So, to answer the question, we should be building and growing our personal relationship with Jesus outside of a church.
However, there’s a whole other level of our relationship with Jesus that is fulfilled when we meet with a body of believers on a regular basis.
Throughout Scripture, we see verse after verse instructing us to continue meeting together in a body of believers, Jesus called His Church (see Matt 16:18).
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. ~Hebrew 10:24-25
Stirring each other in love and good works requires community. It also requires believers to not only meet together, but actually get involved in each other’s lives.
Accountability, baptisms, spiritually growing up, sharing in life’s joys, praying for each other, and serving one another through a crisis can’t be accomplished if we are living on a Jesus island, population: one.
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. ~James 5:13-16
If our faith is rooted in Jesus and Scripture, in which both instruct us to never stop meeting with other believers, then maybe we should give church another chance.
The good news is loving and godly churches really do exist. I know because I’ve seen them, visited them, and I’m part of one.
No church is perfect, so expecting things to always be wonderful is an unrealistic expectation.
Followers of Jesus are still sinful, broken people in need of a savior.
News flash: We all are.
During His ministry, Jesus laid the foundation for the church, was crucified (and rose from the dead, hallelujah!) for proclaiming He is God, that He is the head and cornerstone of the church, and for preaching we should all go and make disciples for Him. (see Matt. 16:18, 28:19; Col. 1:18 to name a few)
What about the disciples who spent the rest of their lives planting churches (on Christ’s instruction) and were later killed for it?
And what about all of our brothers and sisters who risk their lives planting churches today?
This should make any believer pause before completely rejecting the idea of church.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, please reconsider being part of a church family.
Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you where He wants to grow and use you.
He has blessed you with a unique set of gifts that’s tailored made to edify and speak life and truth into a church family somewhere.
Don’t allow someone else’s actions to keep you from what God has in store for your life and the blessings that come from being a member of a church family.
I am praying for all of those who are still searching for a church home.