Something struck me as I read responses from those openly proclaiming they wanted nothing to do with “church” because of the way “church folk” act. This was in response to the new TLC show, “The Sisterhood,” a reality show based on some preacher’s wives in Atlanta. In my opinion, the show is awful, but it sure dug up some church hurt and church stereotypes that need to be discussed.
I admit, church hurt was the reason I fled the four walls for a few years. I depended on TV and internet ministries to sustain me until I had the strength to walk into a church service. Then another year before I found a church home. But, I knew it was important to have a covering. Here’s some Biblical reasons why from John MacArthur’s Grace To You:
What’s So Important About Your Local Church?
What’s so important about your local church? At a time when there’s more Bible teaching than you could ever consume available through radio, television, and the Internet, why should it matter where and how you’re taking in God’s truth? What’s wrong with virtual, web-based congregations for the digital-age church? Why can’t your iPod be your worship leader, your tablet be your pastor, and your friends your fellowship and accountability?
The answer is simple: that’s not the way God designed it.
The New Testament repeatedly emphasizes the importance of local assemblies. In fact, it was the pattern of Paul’s ministry to establish local congregations in the cities where he preached the gospel. Hebrews 10:24-25 commands every believer to be a part of such a local body and reveals why this is necessary.
And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
It is only in the local body to which one is committed that there can be the level of intimacy that is required for carefully stimulating fellow believers “to love and good deeds.” And it is only in this setting that we can encourage one another faithfully and Biblically.
The New Testament also teaches that every believer is to be under the protection and nurture of the leadership of the local church. These godly men can shepherd the believer by encouraging, admonishing, and teaching.Hebrews 13:7 and 17 help us to understand that God has graciously granted accountability to us through godly leadership.
I can understand how you feel, but the fact is… we need each other. Today, I’m like Mary Mary’s latest song, Sunday Morning! What day is this again? ♪ I Can’t Wait ♫