Last week Christianity Today wrote an article on what Christians believe. The article was based on a survey, conducted by LifeWay research through Ligonier Ministries, where they interviewed 3000 Americans. You can read the article here.
There were several alarming things that the research concluded. Among them, was what people believed about sin, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus. Some of the beliefs are straight up heresy. But the one thing that stood out to me was what people believe about gathering together as the Church.
The survey concluded, “A majority of US adults (58%) said that worshiping alone or with one’s family is a valid replacement for regularly attending church. Only 30 percent disagree.”
This is a dangerous mindset. Our relationship with Jesus is personal, but out of this relationship we are also bound to His people. The Christian life was never meant to be lived alone. On the contrary, it is the will of God that His people would come together to worship and fulfill His purposes. We see this all throughout the New Testament. From the day of Pentecost, the Church has been gathering together for the proclamation of Gods Word, for worship and for fellowship.
The question then arises, why do 58% of Americans think that worshiping alone is a valid replacement for regularly attending Church? They might have had some bad experiences in the church, they might have been betrayed by the people in the church, or they might just find the whole thing boring. They might see the whole experience as a show, they might not like the preacher, and the worship team might be a little flat.
Even if all these things are true, the underlying reason that people have this dangerous mindset is that they have not committed themselves to the Church. Many Christians believe that the Church exists to serve them, but it is actually the believer who is called to serve the Church. It is not just the Pastors responsibility to serve and care for the Church. It is the responsibility of all believers to come together and care for one another. This is what we see in the early Church, when all the believers were together, and took care of the needs of all who were in the Church. (Acts 2:44-47)
There is plenty that you could find wrong in the Church, just as there is plenty that you could find wrong in your own life. The beauty of the Church is not in it’s perfection. The beauty of the Church is that they are sinners who have been redeemed by the grace of God and are trying to live a life faithful to Jesus in a broken world.
Charles Spurgeon had some great insight on the Church. He called it “the dearest place on Earth.” And I agree with him.
“If I had never joined a church till I had found one that was perfect, I should never have joined one at all; and the moment I did join it, if I had found one, I should have spoiled it, for it would not have been a perfect church after I had become a member of it. Still, imperfect as it is, it is the dearest place on earth to us.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon