Thursday, January 6, 2011

Is the Church Irrelevant?

People have many excuses for not attending church. The Church is irrelevant. The Church is full of hypocrites. All they’re after is my money. It’s boring. It’s my only day to sleep in. I can feel close to God without being in church.

While most of these are flimsy excuses without much merit (in my opinion), I do want to address the relevancy factor. Is the Church irrelevant? At the risk of confusing you, let me say that the question as to whether the church is irrelevant is itself irrelevant. Relevancy isn’t the issue. Let me explain what I mean.

First, let’s define “Church.” A simplistic definition is the Church is a gathering of people who are followers of Jesus Christ, have trusted him for their salvation, and believe in the doctrines of the Church based on the Bible. I believe the Church has five purposes, which I’ve borrowed from Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose-Driven Life. Those purposes are worship, discipleship, fellowship, mission and ministry, and evangelism. While those are the purposes of every individual Christian according to Warren, I believe they can be best accomplished through the Church. That’s because the Church provides the structure, resources, and training to do these. An individual church (or even denomination) not doing these well is, in fact, irrelevant, because it isn’t fulfilling its purposes.

Looking at the worship component, the Church gathers regularly to give honor and praise to God. The thing we must understand is worship is about God, not us. We derive some benefits from gathering together, but the real purpose is to worship God. Since ancient times, God has called his people to publically worship him. So to say regular worship is irrelevant is to say God is irrelevant.

If you aren’t regularly attending a worship service, let me suggest you start doing so for the reasons I just mentioned. What’s in it for you? A number of things.

First, you are fulfilling one of your God-given purposes.
Second, you will hopefully learn something from the sermon that will help you be a better person.
Third, worship is a means of grace and will bring you closer to God.
Fourth, you will have the opportunity to interact with other Christians in a non-threatening atmosphere (fellowship).
Fifth, you will be presented with opportunities to serve in various capacities, so you will be able to make a difference in some way.
Sixth, you’ll hear some nice music.

If you show up at a church and it doesn’t seem right to you, check out other churches in the area. You are bound to find one that works for you. God’s Spirit will guide you to the church where he wants you to be (it’s happened in my life).

May God bless you in your search for a church, and also in getting into the habit of regular worship.

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