Kristen Wetherell, Bible teacher and writer for various websites, has written an article titled “7 Lies You’ve Been Telling Yourself About Church” on ForTheChurch. Her article is based on her takeaways from Josh Moody’s book How Church Can Change Your Life. She states,
“Moody’s book made me think more deeply about common objections I’ve heard from friends, family, and others regarding local churches, along with the lies that fuel these objections.”
Here are 3 of the 7 lies Wetherell says we tell ourselves about church; to read all 7 please visit ForTheChurch.
Lie #1: You don’t need to attend church to grow as a Christian.
The church is a body united for Jesus’ glory; He is the head, and we are to follow Him and glorify Him together. There is not a single part of the body that is unneeded, and if you are a believer then you are part of the body of Christ. Wetherell explains,
“The church is Christ’s bride (Revelation 21:2), his body (1 Corinthians 12), his assembly of believers who gather to worship him in unity and to be his fragrance to the rest of the world (Ephesians 4:1-16). While there is spiritual value in parachurch ministries, campus initiatives, and Christian conferences—both for introducing people to Jesus and for growth in the Christian life—they cannot and should not act as replacements to the local church. Jesus, himself, expressed an intimacy with his body that specifically points to the gathering of his people in the doctrinally-sound, Bible-rooted, commitment-based, leadership-valued setting called the church.”
Sometimes people in the church hurt us, and sometimes we can’t find a church that we like or fit in with. But church is about more than what we may or may not like; church is about God. Crosswalk.com Contributor Mark Dever writes,
“When a person becomes a Christian, he doesn't just join a local church because it's a good habit for growing in spiritual maturity. He joins a local church because it's the expression of what Christ has made him - a member of the body of Christ. Being united to Christ means being united to every Christian.”
Lie #2: The Church is only for committed believers in Christ.
The church is for believers but it is also for those are who are new, seeking, or have questions…they need sound believers to be there in encouragement and hospitality, in fellowship to build relationships and answer questions, and to be examples for real Christian life through good times and struggles. Wetherell relays,
“Perhaps you’re reading this, and you’re not a Christian. It’s important that you see this lie exposed: Church is not only for people who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. The local churches around your region are most certainly filled with believers (I would hope so!), but it is pure joy to these congregations when you walk through the doors. Every Christian was at one point a first-time church-goer, so every person there knows how it feels to be new. Every new endeavor tends to feel awkward and scary, but you won’t grasp on to a good thing unless you give it a chance in the first place!
Church is not only for Christians. It is a spiritual hospital for the weary and heavy-laden sinner and, we pray, the sinner-turned-saint through the power of the gospel.”
Lie #3: The measure of a good church is how much you enjoy the service.
It’s easy to try out new churches and then feel like one Sunday is off; maybe the preaching wasn’t as good, maybe you didn’t like the analogy used, or you couldn’t get into the music. There are so many things that can affect how much we enjoy church, and they are almost all preferences. The purpose of church is not for our happiness and comfort. Wetherall says,
“The point of meeting together in the local church is ultimately to meet with Jesus Christ. So the best question to ask ourselves after a worship service is, “Did I meet with Jesus today?”
In other words, was the Bible faithfully read, preached, sung, and prayed during worship service, so that the Word of Christ was dwelling richly within the believers gathered there (Colossians 3:16)?”
If the church you are a member of, attend regularly, or are trying out is preaching the Word of Christ truthfully in all aspects of the service then any issues you have are probably based on your preferences. You must then ask yourself which is more important a church that meets all your preferences (this can be hard to find) or a church that points to Christ in all things.
As Wetherell points out,
“The church was never about us being good people, earning God’s favor, or being entertained. It was and is about the power and presence of Jesus Christ stirring up his gathered, chosen people to be amazed by his covering grace, comforted by his immoveable love, and guided by his infinite wisdom, all in worshipful response to his completed work on the cross for our sake and his glory.
To meet with Jesus is the highest good and goal of the church; and through that filter, the lies we are tempted to believe will dissipate.”
Publication date: March 14, 2016
Liz Kanoy is an editor for Crosswalk.com