Last week, I began a discussion about why people are leaving the organized church for various reasons, often saying that the church is no longer practicing the New Testament approach to “doing church.”
Let’s continue this discussion which why organized church, as imperfect as it can be, is actually a reflection of God’s grace. For those who criticize the local church as not being “biblical,” let’s consider what’s “biblical.”
If you want a more biblical church… don’t gather weekly, gather daily. Get up before the sun rises to pray together with other Christians before you go to work. Pool your possessions. Don’t claim anything as your own. Be willing to lose your job, your home, your family and even your life because you follow Jesus. Then you’ll be more authentic.
And notice that the early church did indeed gather. Gathering always leads to some form of organizing. To pretend the church doesn’t need to be organized is as logical arguing that society doesn’t need to be organized. Because community is inevitable, organization is inevitable. Our ability to organize and to accomplish more together than we can alone is one of the crowning achievements of humanity, and our ability to work together makes Christian effort far more effective.
It’s also part of God’s design for how we should interact while we’re on this planet. Come to think of it, heaven is a community too. The only one who wants us to believe that we are better off alone is our enemy. If you really think about it, it’s actually a very clever tactic.
May I suggest your faith is actually the result of the mission of the church. Very few people come to know Jesus because he appears to them supernaturally when they are alone and calls them by name. Does that ever happen? Sure. But not to 99.9% of us.
Almost all of us who follow Jesus have had our lives changed by a flawed body called the church that Jesus so passionately loves and calls his own. Think about that.
Do we need more churches? Yes. Do we need more humble churches? We do. Do you we need authentic, transparent leadership? Absolutely. Does the church need to change? Without a doubt. The church needs continual reformation and transformation.
So, what will the future look like? Will we gather in quite the way we do today in the future? In some ways yes; in others, no. Hopefully, we gather more frequently and work through our differences at a deeper level and impact our communities more powerfully.
But regardless of how the church gathers in the future, we will gather…we need to gather. We Christians need each other, probably now more than ever. And even if you don’t think you need other Christians, I promise you, yes, you do, and so does our world.
Now, more than ever, the world needs Christians working together humbly under Christ to lead people into a growing relationship with him, in whatever innovate and fresh forms that takes.
You and I need the church.