Churchless: 8 Reasons To Be A Part Of A Church


Is being a part of a local expression of the invisible body of Christ, the church, something that Christians should do? Is it taught anywhere in the Bible that we should actually go to church, or simply just be the church? Here are eight huge blessings you miss when you divorce yourself from the church:

  • You Lose the Effectiveness of the Body
    • Apart we can do far less to influence this world than we can together. Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12 explains that we (Christians, the Church) are all like different pieces of a body that fit together and function best when we cooperate with one another. When Paul uses that “body” language, he is talking about distinct, unique expressions of Christ’s church – not just Christians in general. We know this because he goes into specific offices that need to be present in a local church that wouldn’t make sense if he was just talking about the invisible, universal Church.
      Every local church is like a body, gifted with unique members that need one another to function properly. It would be arrogant for a hand to think it was just as functional severed from the body, as it is connected. A severed hand isn’t very useful. This is what we are like when not a part of a church. And here is a really interesting thought: if there is a severed hand, that means there is a maimed body somewhere. If you aren’t a part of a church, serving in the unique gifting that God has given you, with the unique personality given to you – then there is a church somewhere not functioning to its fullest capacity. The Church has a mission to be a city on a hill, and needs its members working together to accomplish that.
  • You Lose the Benefit of Regular Christian Worship
    • I know that as soon as I say that, someone, somewhere will object, “Man, I worship God, like, everyday. I don’t need to be in a building once a week to worship, bro.” Well, that is true, dude. But that isn’t exactly what I am talking about. I am talking about the corporate worship gathering of the saints, who rejoice in the Lord together, sing spiritual songs, receive the Word of God and the sacraments (Col. 3:15-17) – all of which is meant to be a foreshadow of the heavenly banquet to come.Kevin DeYoung, in his book Why We Love the Church says,

      “We know from Acts 2:42 that the first Christians met together regularly for teaching, fellowship (possible the word for taking a collection), the Lord’s Supper, and prayer. We know from 1 Cor. 12-14 that public worship was an important part of the life of the church. We see in 1 Tim. 4:13 that there were regular times for the public reading of Scripture. In 1 Cor. 11:18 we read instructions for “when you come together as a church,” indicating that there was a unique gathering “as a church” that was not the same as a few Christians hanging out and talking about Jesus. As Gordon Fee puts it, ‘The people of God may be called the ‘church/assembly’ first of all because they regularly assemble as a ‘church/assembly’. Later in 1 Cor. 16 we read instructions for setting aside a collection “on the first day of every week” suggesting that the church at Corinth met for services of worship every Sunday. And in Hebrews 10:25 we are commanded not to neglect to meet together (literally, do not forsake the assembly of yourselves). The word for “meet together” episynagogen, does not refer to Christian friends reading their Bibles together but the formal gathering of God’s people for worship. So no, you can’t stop going to church and still be the church.” (pg. 172).

  • You Lose the Benefit of the Shepherding of Biblical Elders
    • God has designed that his people should function, like sheep (John 21:15-17), under the protection and care of shepherds – biblically qualified leadership. We see that in Eph. 4 and 1 Cor. 12 God gifts the church with designated teachers and leaders. In 2 Cor. 13:1-4 we see apostles exercising great authority over the churches. We have pastors commanded to “exhort and rebuke with all authority” in Titus 2:15 and 2 Tim. 4:2. We see elder rule in Acts 14:23, 15:2, 20:17, 1 Tim. 3:1-7, 5:17, Titus 1:5, James 5:14, 1 Peter 1:1, and 5:1, accompanied by the office of deacon to care for the physical needs of the congregation (1 Tim. 3:8-13, Phil. 1:1 and Acts 6:1-7). To be sure elders are not to domineer over those in their charge but they still must exercise oversight (1 Peter 5:2-3), and those in the congregation should “obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.’ (Heb. 13:17). Pastoral ministry is what God has entrused to the elders of the church (Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 5:1-2). Biblical leaders in the church are there to provide leadership, discipleship and theological guidance. In Eph. 4:12-14 we see that God has given us leaders in the church to grow us, mature us and act as a theological rudder to keep us safe from false doctrine.
  • You Lose the Multifaceted Variety of the Body
    • The body of Christ is extremely unique. Unlike any other community, which all come together around a shared affinity, race, gender, socio-economic class, etc.  – Christianity is open and inviting to all peoples (Gal. 3:28). So our community transcends, age, gender, race, socio-economic class, affinities and hobbies and even religious background. Because our lives are now hidden with Christ (Col. 3:3), we all have the most important thing in our life in common. Having relationships with people from different walks of life, at different ages, from different cultures is tremendously beneficial for your own spiritual growth. Spending time with people who are very different than you helps challenge some assumptions that you were unaware you had and helps give perspectives you didn’t know existed. Like the variety of a mineral-enriched soil, your soul will flourish when planted in this kind church.
  • You Lose the Benefit of Tithing.
    • Tithing is the biblical practice of setting aside a portion of your money and pouring it into your local church. There is some controversy over it not being explicitly taught in the New Testament, (though it could be argued that the money set aside for Paul in 1 Cor. 16 and 2 Cor. 8 came from the regular tithes of the church) so some Christians try and wiggle out of it, but I won’t be able to cover all of that in this brief look at the topic. Rather, I want to focus on why it is beneficial for you to be tithing to your local church. Statistically speaking, Christians who tithe regularly do have healthier finances than those who do not, and typically are more generous towards other causes in the world. This isn’t because tithing is some magical step you follow where God makes you rich if you tithe. Rather, (1) tithing forces you to become more disciplined with your money because you are losing a tenth (or more) of what you normally have, (2) it gives you a taste of the freedom over the unique enslaving power of money by reminding you that God really owns all of the money in all the world, so you are going to trust that if He commands you to give money to His church then it is not because He needs it, but because it is for your good, (3) it shows you how joyful it is to use your money for other’s good, rather than your own, and finally (4) a church will be dramatically less effective to be a positive agent of change in the world if its congregants won’t support the mission. There is so much more that could be said about tithing, but we will save that for another day.
  • You Lose the Benefit of Church Discipline
    • One of the benefits of having biblical eldership over you is the protection of church discipline as charted out in Matt. 18 and displayed in 1 Cor. 5 and 2 Cor. 3. I know that doesn’t necessarily sound like a benefit, but imagine you’re in a family, and your father becomes abusive, and your mother is too scared to go to the police because that would be too drastic. And you feel too helpless to do anything because you are just a child, what do you do? Most people who are victims of something like that feel so intimidated and scared that they never reach out and seek help. But now imagine that same scenario, but you are a part of a church with good biblical elders, who notice that something doesn’t seem right, and upon further investigation discover what is happening. They will enact church discipline, remove the family from the destructive man and begin seeing if he is desiring repentance or not. And if not, then they will excommunicate him from the body, and contact the authorities, acting as the strong middle man necessary for a situation like that. And if he does, they will continue to protect the family and use wisdom and prudence in evaluating whether he is genuine or not. Or, imagine someone else in your church is sinning against you, and you feel like no matter what you do, they won’t stop. Church discipline acts as an authority that is uniquely distinct from all other authorities given to the Church for the protection of the Body, and if instituted by God, is for our good.
  • You Lose the Benefit of Expositional Preaching
    • God has given the church preachers (1 Cor. 12:28, Eph. 4:11) to proclaim God’s Word in an authoritative manner to God’s people. It is a unique calling and gifting, given by God. Some Christians have attempted to dismiss preaching now as not necessary, but it has so much biblical precedence that it is preposterous to challenge its claim. And as an important side note, listening to podcasts online is not the same as sitting under the pastor you are submitting to, hearing him speak God’s Word to the body that you are a member of.
  • You Lose the Benefit of the Support of the Body
    • Finally, you lose the support and familial bond that comes from the body of Christ. Gal. 6:1-2 teach us that to bear one another’s burdens is to fulfill the law of Christ and are also told in vs. 10 that we should especially do good to those who are of the household of faith. Bearing one another’s burdens plays out in small and big ways; from cooking meals for a family who just brought home their first newborn baby, to helping someone drowning in medical bills, to being by the side of a grieving widow. The Church is meant to be a practical manifestation of Christ’s endless, servant-hearted love, especially towards one another. And, an interesting thought, If we sever ourselves from the local expression of Christ’s body, we lose so many opportunities to display Christ’s love to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

I am sure there are many other benefits that you will lose if you are not currently a member of a local church, but this is a good start. If you would say that you are a Christian, but are not currently a part of a church, I pray that you would seriously reconsider your spiritual homelessness. Simply put, the New Testament offers zero categories for the concept of a Christian existing outside of the body of Christ; there is no such thing as a churchless Christian. I am not saying that being a member of a church is a requirement to be a Christian, but rather that it is the natural and expected outcome of someone who has come to trust in Jesus as their savior.

You cannot have God as Father without having Church as Mother. – Cyprian of Carthage

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