Thursday, May 28, 2015

Church: A matter of life or death?

“…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as ye see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25
In the time we live, it is imperative that we continue to draw strength from one another, sharpening one another, and encouraging one another to be all that we can be in the Kingdom of God. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but in the past decade or so, there has been a growing movement for believers to end their relationship with the organized church, finding alternatives to “assembling together.”
With my own perspective about church life, I may have one reason why church attendance by passionate believers has declined. From the pulpit, I’ve heard pastors make such proclamations as, “The church you choose is a matter of life or death!” I believed this whole-heartedly until I didn’t believe it at all.
Our main nutrition should be our intimate, daily relationship with the Lord. We should be growing and building ourselves up in our most holy faith. The organized church should be like a vitamin supplement. It adds to our diet, but without it, we shouldn’t starve. It feeds us that extra meal that boosts our metabolism and fuels the fire we’ve already gotten started in our passionate pursuit of God on our own.
However, if we assume that our organized church attendance is our main meal, we are going to be left hungry on several counts. First, most of us attend once or twice a week. What if we only ate one or two meals a week? Enough said.
Secondly, church is run and attended by humans. With that being stated, many things can happen in the company of a group of people.

·         The pastor may retire, and a new pastor may replace him whose vision is different from your own.

·         The vision of the ministry may change and not be in line with yours.

·         Your vision may change and not be in line with the vision of that organization.

·         The pastor or leaders may begin to lead the congregation in ways you are not in agreement with.

·         The pastor may make grievous errors that directly affect you and your family.

·         There may be serious hurt between you and another congregant, and it is not handled well by the leadership.

·         The church may move to a new location that makes it more difficult for you to attend.

These are only a few of the many things that might occur to the place that you’ve determined is “life or death” to your spiritual walk.  What then would this mean to you and your family? Your main source of sustenance would be lost or broken, and you may determine, like so many already have, to quit attending church altogether. To make a building and a gathering of people our all-in-all is a great error on our part, and we are often taught from the pulpit that this is essential to our health and well-being. While attending church may be important, it is much more important to develop our relationship with God outside of the building.
With hindsight being 20/20, I encourage you to enjoy your church and church family. Get involved and help when and where you can. However, make sure that it is a good, healthy addition to your daily intake of time with God and his word. Never, ever make church and church going your main meal for the entire week! God deserves more of you than a short, obligatory weekly visit!