“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1
A 2012 Pew Research Poll asked Americans who said that spirituality and religion was somewhat important in their lives, but either did not attend church, or at best attended sporadically, why they didn’t attend more often. The number one answer given by almost 40% of the people was that they didn’t consider attending worship services important. The “drop-out rate” of people regularly attending church has never been higher. In fact, there is now a category called “Nones,” which are people who do not attend any church – and it is the fastest growing “religious group” in America.
God did not create the church because He was looking for a way to waste our time, keep us busy, or just give us something else to do. God designed the church, not primarily for His benefit, but for ours. The truth is that it is God’s gift to His family. Therefore, no Christ follower should ever quit the church.
Interestingly, the problem of quitting church is not just a modern-day problem. Evidently, the early church had an attendance deficit as well. Some believers had begun to slack off, drop out, and sleep in. The Book of Hebrews lays out why the Church is important to God and why it should be important to every believer. Throughout Hebrews the author uses the phrase, “Let us…” He is talking to the Church as a whole, not just to individual believers, but also to every follower of Jesus collectively. He encourages the believers to worship together, share their faith together, serve together, and never stop living life together.
A great New Testament scholar once said: “We do not find an un-churched Christian in the New Testament…A person was not saved for the sole purpose of enjoying a personal relationship with God…A person is saved to community.” No Christian is an island. We need each other. And the local church is our connection point to one another.
Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of community. I pray that you would help me not to take this gift for granted, and that you would surround me with fellow believers so that we might encourage each other and spur one another on in our walk with you. In Jesus' name, amen.