I read an
article recently about the importance for Christians to have a church family
with whom they worship IN PERSON. I am
glad we have our worship service on line for the sake of those who are ill,
hospitalized or unable to get out of their homes on their own. I genuinely think that’s a good thing for
those who are truly ill. Can you sense a
“But…” coming? But, the on-line worship
services many churches are providing are becoming another reason for some to
avoid church life and opt for staying home and still (in theory) “going to
church”. Some churches actually count
those who are watching on-line in their church attendance. I think that’s pushing it.
two idols of American culture are rearing their ugly heads in the church: the
idols of “privacy” and “convenience”.
Many have done away with church membership and church involvement
because they prefer “a personal relationship with Jesus”. We speak of Jesus as being “my personal Lord
and Savior”. And we speak that way as
though as long as we okay with Jesus our connection to the larger body of
Christ is optional. Also, church via
video is more convenient. You can play
it while doing other things in your house and watch it at your “convenience”
and you don’t have to do a meet a greet or spend time talking with others or
give an offering.
for church via video or live-feed because they don’t have to face people they
don’t really like, or people they see as hypocrites. They can do away with church politics and
“organized religion” (there’s a favorite cliché of people who don’t want to go
to church). I understand moving from one
church to another for geographical, theological or vocational reasons. But there is not a valid reason to not seek
out a local church at all.
are expert rationalizers. “All I need is
my Bible and Jesus” is a popular phrase ironically not found in the Bible
(assuming they read it). Another popular
phrase, “Well…Jesus said where two or three are gathered in his name He is with
them. And we have more than two or three
in our family. So…”. The context of that statement by Jesus in
Matthew 18 had nothing to do with worship.
It was about church discipline.
is, the church is a body. And just as an
amputated member of your physical will not do very well, neither will an
amputated member of the body of Christ.
Paul said in 1 Cor. 12:27 “Now you (plural) are the body of Christ and
individually members of it.” The context
of chapter 12 is that individual members have all been given different gifts
“for the common good” (12:7). In
Ephesians 4 he said the church body is healthy when each part is working
properly and making the whole body grow by building itself up in love.
Listen, I know church and
people can be messy. We are messy. But we are called to bear one another’s
messes. That’s being the Church! Don’t fall for the lie of the enemy that you
can do Christianity alone or even casually tied to a local body of believers. We are meant to do the Christian life together.