The September church newsletter article.
I love football. Perhaps you’ve seen me enjoying a HCHS home game before, and noticed that I have trouble sitting still. Sometimes the refs need a word of encouragement. Sometimes a good play warrants a shout and a fist pump. There are times when I still wish I could strap on a helmet and go play a few downs. There is a sense in which that desire will never be fulfilled. I am too old to play on any school teams, and laughably short of the skills required to play professionally. So, I may have the chance to play a pickup game of two-hand-touch football in the yard sometime, but I’ll never be on a team again.
I also love the church, and there is a similar truth to realize here: in the same way that a football team is the only place where the desire to play football can truly be fulfilled, a local church is the only way the individual Christian can be fulfilled in their faith.
The local church is the appointed way for Christians to grow in their faith,
and express the gifts God has given them for the good of the world around them.
God’s spiritual gift to me is teaching and preaching. These are two of the things God has ingrained into my Christian character and desires. And the only way for these gifts to be faithfully expressed is in the context of a local gathering of believers.
God has made us for the church,
not the church for us.
What that means is this: a local church is central to everything the church does. The church is not simply another service rendered by a few professionals. Church is not a product which we buy with our time and tithes. The local church is an organic being; a gathering of believers coming together under a common salvation and a shared goal. We unite under the blood of Christ to worship and serve God.
The church is a “who”, not a “what”.
What I’m getting at here is that you will always be frustrated in your faith unless you are united together with a group of Christians to worship and serve God. Why? Because God Almighty has ordained that your faith can be fully expressed only in the context of a church. The church is the team in which the spiritual gifts and callings and desires are given vent.
Oh sure, you can play two-hand-touch Christianity in the back yard, but it will never compare to the true fulfillment of strapping on the full armor of God with the rest of the saints and walking onward singing songs to glorify God and serving the risen Christ.
Over the next several months’ newsletters, I’ll discuss some aspects of what it looks like to be truly involved in a church “team” so to speak. We often think of being involved in church in terms of doing: lead a class, go to worship, help with ministry. What we’ll see over the coming months is that a huge part of being woven into the gathering of saints is knowing – knowing your brothers and sisters, and being known by them.
The church is, and must be,
a group of believers devoted to God
AND to one another.
Fulfillment in the Christian faith will always be wounded without a deep devotion to the Bride of Christ – the church. If we are not woven into the fabric of God’s people, we will miss out on God’s blessings and be frustrated by the inability to fully express our spiritual gifts; our hearts will be dulled and our souls cold.
So be encouraged! The cost of living, serving, and worshipping in close relationship with the people of God is worth the benefit! God has created us with the desires and gifts to be a member of the local body. Trust His design!
Be devoted to one another.
In Christ our mutual Savior,