4 Reasons Why You Need A Church

4 Reasons Why You Need A Church March 23, 2023

A Light Shines Through The Leaves in much the same way as we see Divine Light in the writings of the Bible
The light shines through the leaves to show their beauty.

Progressive Christians do not feel at home in many churches anymore. There are reasons to find a church or develop a congregation of like-minded Jesus followers. It is understandable when one feels wounded or angry to avoid churches all together. Yet it is not the best thing to do. I will give four reasons followers of Jesus need church.

1. Reasons of Mutual Help

Community is like experience. You don’t feel the need for it until you need it. People find themselves alone in the hard times of life. They also can find themselves alone at times that should be celebrated. Churches provide community. Kurt Vonnegut wrote the novel Slapstick as a means to discuss the need for extended families. New parents need help. They may have help from family. And they may have help from churches. Established families receiving a new child need these connections even more. There are other children to care for in addition to the new arrival that consume most of the parents’ time.

The same problem presents itself when a loved one is ill. Being a care giver is a huge burden that should really be shared. Christians should be involved in churches that provide aid for one another. Nurture ministries are a large part of church life. Signing up and showing up for each other should be an important part of choosing a church home.

2. Needing To Share Worship

Does your congregation pray for each other? We are all aware of the pitfall that a church can become self-focused and only be concerned about its members. Church leaders often make the mistake of offering only “seeker-friendly” worship. The church meeting for shared worship is often discounted by people. When I was at the lowest point in my life, having experienced public humiliation and embarrassed by my addiction, I decided to risk going to church. Why? Because I was seeking for something I knew only the church could provide me – other people who will worship with me. The music may have not been what I wanted. I had no idea how I would react to the sermon. Putting these things together though was worship no matter what my view of the quality would be.

Shared worship is one of the major reasons the churches exist. This is especially true of progressive churches in conservative areas. We need to greet each other, sing together, and pray together. Our God hears us in our disconnection to the larger community and in our attempt to have community that is beneficial.

3. Reasons of Co-Existence

The previous two reasons may feel like enough. They are primarily about mutual benefit and are good selling points. This next point is where we begin to avoid being insular. Christians need congregations in order to co-exist with our neighbors. This is a more nuanced viewpoint. Shared worship and the practice of mutual aid helps us learn how to live among people who think differently. Spiritual discipline teaches us to live in peace and patience with each other. We then have the discipline to do live in patience and peace with people who do not practice these things.

Neighbors irritate us. We should remember that we irritate them in some way. If we expand the parable of the Good Samaritan, the practice of loving the injured stranger is understood to develop out of the worship of Samaritans. However the ancient Samaritans observed torah in their community, the actions of neighborliness came from this observance. The commandment “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” was taught and kept by the Samaritan community. Mutual love of one’s coreligionist becomes love for the stranger.

4. Growing In Understanding

I can read scripture, theology, and everything else and believe I have some idea about what is right, moral, ethical, and true. However, until I test these ideas, their implications and applications with other Christians, I do not really grow in understanding and wisdom. Progressive Christianity does not believe the church is the repository of all truth. It is the primary difference between us and any group who believe they should force their beliefs on other people for their own sake.

Deepening our own experiences of grace and truth requires this be shared among others. I have high opinions of my opinions. Knowing my opinions are truly valid requires discussion with someone else. The first step is learning how to explain my ideas to another person without attempting to persuade. The next step is listening. Group discussions are better for this kind of testing.

The Meaning of These 4 Reasons

You need a church. Christians need connection for all of the reasons stated above. I recognize that it is not easy. It is why many of us fail to take part in churches. We have to exert effort to build up communities of disciples. Churches are changing in many ways. The old truth remains. Our neighbors need us. The neglected and marginalized need us. We need to encourage each other in these efforts.

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