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The Local Church Is Still Central to God’s Divine Plan

The Local Church Is Still Central to God’s Divine Plan January 14, 2022

I recently posted on Facebook: “It’s every believer’s moral duty to support the local church with their time, talent and treasure. It’s also every believer’s greatest honor.” Some precious believers clearly did not like this basic sentiment.

It has become a popular thing to disapprove of the local church. However, the push back I received only renewed my passion to mobilize people even more. This article offers a biblical response to some of the objections I received. Make no mistake, the local church is still central to God’s divine model for personal growth and kingdom expansion.

Church Congregation
Greg Weaver / Unsplash

Objection #1: The Church Is Not a Building, Organization or System

I found this objection more of an excuse than anything else. Yes, of course, the church represents God’s people, the Body of Christ, worldwide. Nobody wants to limit the meaning of church to buildings, organizations or systems. We all agree that church represents God’s people! However, the word “ekklesia” translated as “church” in the new testament is defined as “a called-out assembly or congregation.” This means church should involve the assembling together of believers in the context of local groups.

In light of this understanding, let’s break down the objection from a more practical standpoint. First, it’s true the church is not a building but it’s sure nice to have buildings (or some type of shelter) when congregating together. Second, some people don’t like the concept of “organized” religion but it’s sure nice to have some type of organization when doing God’s work. Third, it may be tempting to say that “systems” are not necessary but it’s sure nice to have systems and processes that make doing God’s work more effective.

Objection #2: Believers Are Not Required to Submit to Any Spiritual Leadership Other Than God

Some people want a church definition that does not align with the Holy Spirit’s established order. It has become trendy to dishonor the role of spiritual leadership in recent decades. It’s true that believers must ultimately submit to God. However, it’s not wise to dismiss the divine calling, equipping and ordaining of pastors (Ephesians 4:11), elders (Acts 14:23) and deacons (Acts 6) to build up the church. I don’t see anything in scripture that requires church involvement, but why would any authentic believer want to isolate from the blessings of the local church?

Although it’s the good pleasure of the Holy Spirit to establish leaders in the local church for the benefit of every believer, I am fully aware that some leaders have abused their authority. They have made the mistake of “lording” over the people, rather than being examples to the flock. I would encourage every believer to avoid churches and leaders that abuse their spiritual authority. I empathize and pray for those who are healing from church hurts. However, don’t let the exceptions turn you off to God’s plan for community. There are many healthy and biblical churches to check out.

Objection #3: Western Churches Operate Like Businesses

The idea of church operating like a business sounds repulsive to many people. However, there are many aspects of “business” that make the local church stronger. For example, although the church should not focus on generating money as its primary goal, money is needed to reach people for Christ. Generating income from a coffee shop or bookstore should not raise eyebrows. Some don’t like the idea of stage lighting or other digital elements within the worship experience, but these tools can work effectively as supplements (not substitutes) to draw people to Jesus. We should celebrate churches that are strategic with money and find creative ways to connect people with Christ.

The mission of the church to “make disciples of all nations” came from Jesus and will never change. However, the vision for how each church achieves the mission has been entrusted to people and should evolve over time. God has established churches with different styles, cultures and methods to appeal to diverse types of people. Whether you prefer a home church, traditional church, contemporary church, or megachurch, find a local church that prioritizes making disciples for Jesus above everything else.

The Local Church Is Still Central to God’s Divine Plan

I explain in the book The Art of Marketing Jesus that isolation is the greatest enemy to the human soul. It’s for this reason the local church is still central to God’s divine plan for personal growth and kingdom expansion. God has established gifted spiritual leaders to build up the church so that we all might come into the full maturity of Christ.

Do not be among those who disapprove of the local church and lead people astray. Do not forsake, abandon, or give up on the assembling together of the righteous. The church may be imperfect because it involves imperfect people, but it’s still the most beautiful and exciting thing on the planet.

Do you feel burnt out trying to perform better to please God? Learn to live spiritually free and attract people to Jesus. Sign up for Robert’s free, 3-part video series today, derived from the book The Art of Marketing Jesus. Do you need a faith-based coach? Take the free Habit Finder and learn how your thinking patterns are impacting your success.

About Robert Wachter
Robert Wachter is an author, speaker and coach. As the former chief marketing officer for a company that saw $6 billion in annual sales, and the founder of Imagine Church, Robert uses his experience across two dimensions to help others reach their full potential. You can read more about the author here.

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