Why church?

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Why Church

Why Church?

I am going to attempt to offer a simple and clear answer to this question. As such it will lack MUCH in terms proofs, since that would immediately and greatly lengthen the article. So I will just say now that for a more in-depth answer, I have a separate article which I link to at the end of this one.

As a Pastor, I’m certain I’ve heard virtually every objection to church attendance in the book. The following three however, are the ones I heard he most often.

“I don’t need a church to meet with God, I can meet with God anywhere!”
“I don’t need a pastor to tell me what God says, I can study the Bible for myself.”
“I used to attend a church, but the pastor offended me and I’ve never gone back.”

The first two reveal a misunderstanding of the purpose for which Jesus instituted the local church. The last objection is nothing more than an excuse.

Regarding the first two objections…it is true that you can meet with God ANYWHERE, but meeting with God is NOT the stated purpose of belonging to a local assembly of believers – so it means nothing in terms of a reason not to be part of one.

You see, the scriptures are very clear that a local assembly of believers is for the maturing of the saints in the to image of Jesus Christ & for training believers in ministry work.

THAT is Why Church!

God, for reasons that are His alone, determined that His children need a safe place of community, overseen by mature men of God who are able to teach and lead by way of example. Church is really a place of apprenticeship.

In a local assembly, governed by godly, well studied men,  you glean from their wisdom and experience in the Gospel by way of repeated exposure.

In addition to the Pastors of a church, you are further influenced by the lives of other believers who are more mature that yourself. Over time, there will be both those you look up to, as well as becoming someone yourself to whom others look! This makes you both the student and the teacher.

Finally, you will, over time and repeated exposure become among the most mature in the local assembly. At that time you will do more mentoring that learning, but you never outgrow the need for ALL of your brothers and sisters input and example – even from the youngest in the assembly.

As far as the last objection which has to do with people’s feelings getting hurt – welcome to real life! That, believe it or not, is PART of your training and maturing into Christ’s image. You cannot mature in a place where you experience no hurt and no opposition.

How would you ever know that you’ve developed patience or a tender heart of forgiveness for your brethren if you were not challenged in terms of patience and the need to forgive from time to time?

Sure – you can have relationship with God…grow to some limited degree and even learn much in personal study without being part of a local assembly of believers, BUT you will be missing the greatest component of the Christian faith and you will NEVER mature like God intended.

If we are honest with ourselves. Most of us like to think we are the exception to the rule and that somehow “church” might really help most people, but “I’m different”.

Truth is – we are ALL embarrassingly the same! To claim otherwise is both childlike and arrogant – two features which, by the way, you would be challenged to mature in, within the environment of a healthy, loving community of believers led by godly men of God.

I will leave you with the final and biggest reason why all believers should be part of a local assembly of believers and that is because it is a command from our Lord through the writer of Hebrews.

“Do not neglect the gathering of yourselves together as has become the habit of some., and encourage one another ALL THE MORE diligently as you see the day of the Lord’s return approaching!” ~ Heb. 10:25 

For more on this topic please see the message on – “Why do we Gather?” and read the article which goes by a similar name – “Why we Gather?”

Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!