Why should I even go to church? This seems to be a popular question nowadays. There are so many critiques of the church that lead to this question, some warranted and some not. The church is full of hypocrites is a complaint that is not new. I would not disagree with this comment, but I don’t see this leading to avoidance of church. If we avoided every place that was full of hypocrites, we would need to quit our jobs, avoid shopping and restaurants, and pretty much anything that involves people. We would end up living in a cave, isolated from the world while trying to deny our own hypocritical behavior. The church is flawed, but so are you and I. In the end, Christ died for believers and for His bride, the church. He saves a people, the church, who are flawed. The church does itself damage when portraying itself as anything other than flawed. We are a gathering of sinners, who have been bought by the blood of Christ. We are not known by our perfection, but by the love we have for one another (John 13:35). A flawed sinful people who love and forgive one another are contrary to the world.
The church is outdated, boring and unneeded. I can be a Christian without church. The church is just a man made institution. This is just a few excuses from a list that would be a mile long. All essentially ignore Hebrews 10:25 which tells us not to forsake gathering together. I think one of the problems is how many Christians view the church. The church has become a building we come to once a week. By many Christians, the church is no longer viewed as a local body of those saved by Christ, who disciple, love, care and sacrifice for one another. Church has become little more than a religious club to many. We join clubs based on the benefits and enjoyment that they bring us. I think many unfortunately view the church in the same way. What we see as a result are people who want to be a part of the club for the benefits, without having to assume any leadership or responsibilities. When the benefits are not as expected, they leave church behind. Or when some other club (church) offers better “benefits”, they jump ship to that church. If this is your view of the church, then it is very possible for you to see church and irrelevant and unnecessary. However, when we view the church from a proper perspective, it is vital and necessary in our Christian lives.
As you have probably figured, I am extremely concerned by the lack of importance of the church portrayed by many in the church. How can we hate or even view indifferently that which Christ died for – His bride? Being invested into a local church will never be easy, and many times will be messy. However, Christ has placed us together to care for one another. Jesus gave us the mission to go and make disciples of all nations. That can not be done alone, it can only be accomplished together with the church local and universal. They is only a limited amount of discipleship that we can get on our own or through online materials. There is an investment that takes place in each others daily lives, that can not be replicated by audio or video resources. My hope and prayer is to see a new generation of believers who see the church for what it is. When we begin to love the church the way Jesus loves the church, everything changes. We are no longer looking for our benefits, but are looking at how we may benefit others. The sacrifice of our time and resources is done joyfully. We have a desire to be around other believers on days other than Sunday. All the excuses go away, and we can’t believe that we ever lived apart from other believers. The church becomes a family bonded by the blood of Christ. I know because the excuses were once mine too.