Whether you have heard this before or think it yourself. Take a minute to read this recap of what I have posted all week on my website. It will either help you correct your thoughts or prepare you to respond to others in love.
#1: I don’t have to go to church in order to get closer to God.
Those who believe this are absolutely correct. What they are incorrect about is that this is the reason Christians should attend church. The reason to attend church is so that a body of believers can come together which is what the New Testament church did to corporately worship God, to hear the preaching and teaching of God’s Word for the equipping of the saints, and for Christian fellowship in order to fulfill the Great Commission. One of the most important reasons to attend church (I think) is to work together on ministry projects for others. It is during my alone time while reading the Bible and praying that I feel closer to God, but it is at church that I feel more like a servant of Christ. The neat thing about this is that when we are serving together we actually look more like the church. When we think of attending church on a Sunday morning is about us, we miss the point. Going to church is about being part of THE church where we utilize our spiritual gifts and fulfill our callings so that we can accomplish God’s will in kingdom work! Nowhere else can this be accomplished other than at church!
#2: There are only hypocrites at church
Those who believe this myth are partially correct. There are some “hypocrites” at church, but guess what? They are also at your favorite restaurants, local movie theatres and at the office, too. I can’t imagine anyone deciding not to go to work or to the mall because some “hypocrites” might be there. Truth is all Christians can be labeled as “hypocrites” from time to time. Why? Because even though we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, we are still living in this flesh that trips us up from time to time. We could be having a weak moment, which is witnessed by someone, and in that moment our Christian witness is completely undermined. No one is perfect so we shouldn’t judge a person’s one moment of bad behavior as a sum of who she is, or is not, in Christ. Many “hypocrites” are simply sinners saved by grace! Hallelujah! My last thought about this is excuse that some give to opt out of church is this: Why would anybody allow a loathsome “hypocrite” to keep them from the Savior of the world??? Let me tell you this: I don’t care how bad people act or how ugly someone may be to me (even at church); NO ONE (and I mean NO ONE) IS GOING TO KEEP ME FROM MY JESUS!!! And I hope you won’t let them either!!!
#3: God is not in organized religion
Oh, really??? For those who believe this, they must go back and really study God’s character and His Word. God is the most organized person I know! He implemented the seasons, the solar system, and our body’s circulatory system, just to name a few examples. Look at how God instructed Noah to build the Ark or review Moses’ instructions to build the Temple. He organized the church by endowing Christians with spiritual gifts so they can effectively interact and operate with one another. God is very orderly and not only likes organized religion, He created it! From years of leading women’s ministry at my church, I’ve realized that Christians want to serve others, but we get busy and distracted. Sometimes we can’t figure out what to do exactly or how to go about it. So what I like to do for the women of my church, which is what most churches do, is provide structured opportunities for busy people to plug into that they may not have otherwise done. When you try to be a lone ranger Christian you may end up not doing any kingdom work. Organization is a friend to the church, not an enemy. Without organization, we cannot adequately assemble ourselves for ministry work. This myth is a lie from our enemy, the devil, who wants to weaken the church. If we, Christians, gave up on organized religion we would be unable to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Church without organization would be a real mess!
“We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming” ~ God’s Word Translation
#4: The church building would fall in if I show up Sunday!
Not possible! For those who believe this, it is a very arrogant statement. I know most mean it in the most humble sense, disclosing their degree of sinfulness in light of a Holy God, but please know this: No one can take God or a church down with their sins. Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), so all sinners of every degree are welcome! No matter how bad we think we are, we can never be so bad that the blood of Jesus cannot cleanse us from our sins. That is just how wonderful the grace and mercy of Jesus is!
#5: I need to clean myself up before I start attending church
If you believe this, you will never attend church, because you cannot clean yourself up. It works the other way around. Go to church. Hear the Word of God. Be convicted of your sins. Recognize that you need a Savior. Receive Jesus as your Savior. Allow God to do a continual cleanup job that will last until you leave this world. See, going to church is at the beginning of the process, not at the end. Start this Sunday!!!