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Why the Church?

Intro

I have been a Christian for many years and sometimes I just don’t understand why God created the church.

Now, I am not talking about the most scandulous accusations and deeds of the church such that have been in the news.  It is easy to see that those things have nothing to do with true Christianity.  They are simply the work of evil men doing doing evil things.

But what about the Church when it is functioning normally? 

Why does God have us as a part of such an organization when it seems that it would often be easier to be on our own without the conflicts that occur in the short term life of the church.

Providing stability

One of the first things that I see when I try to answer the question about why the Church is important and why being a part of a church (little “c”) body is important is that the church often provides a stability point for people who are struggling with life.

The struggling may be caused by something horrific (abuse or rejection), something bad but “normal” ( divorce, loss of job, etc) or even just regular life ( more kids than money to pay for them).

What many people fail to understand (especially those who have grown up with a relatively stable life) is that the simple act of connecting with trustworthy, loving people on a weekly or more frequent basis adds a great amount of stability into the life of people who otherwise feel out of control.

Modeling

The second aspect of the Church that continues throughout time is the aspect of modeling.  Paul talks to Timothy about passing on the things that he has seen and heard.

For many years as Kradan and I have lead small groups, I have gotten far more comments about the lifestyle we modeled (our interaction with each other and the kids — kind to each other, but honest about our issues as well) than I have ever gotten for somehow enlighting someone through teaching.

Yes, there are “ah ha” moments in the teaching when I see the light bulb come on for people, but far and away are the lessons learned through observation, through enjoying hospitality, and through seeing how people deal with and resolve conflict with each other.

We all need people

Often times when we have been Christians for a long time, we begin to feel like we can handle life with just us and God.  It’s not that we think we are better than other people, but rather we sometimes feel that we ought to, by now, after SOOOOO many years as Christians be able to handle life on our own or at least  just with God.

Yet God has shown me through so many wonderful Christians over the years that only He can touch me and, by choice, He quite often chooses to do it through the hands of other believers.

Generational connection

One of the most beautiful things to see is how we move on in the cycle of generations within the church.

For so long I was a child and a youth, and then suddenly I was a young adult who someone trusted to lead a small group.  And then age started to kick in and as I’ve moved into my forties, I was one of the elders and one of the “senior” small group leaders (by which they meant they couldn’t kill my group no matter what).

And now I have friends who are in their 20s and 20s who are reaching out to mentor my teenager.

I have a “tweener” who is spending time helping in the nursery providing ministry to those kids whose parents can then soak in the word without worrying about their kids.

I have parents in their seventies who continue to model giving and hospitality and multi-generational relationships.

There is a momentum in the church

The list above is not exhaustive as there are many other benefits to the church, but I think that I sum up it’s greatest value like this:

Involvement in the church builds a momentum in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

Like marriage, the Church works not when we have “give and take” but as our pastor said today when we have “Give and Give.”

I am often reminded of Galations 6:9 now that I have reached the middl-ish part of my life:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

We never know if the next prayer, the next instruction, the next devotion, or the next encouragement will be the one that pushes ourselves or another into a tighter orbit in one’s relationship with Jesus Christ.

We can only fall back on a God who cares so deeply about us and trust Him to know what He was doing when He created the church and to continue to press on towards what He has for us.