Recently, a video circulated on Social Media of a turtle who somehow had found himself upside floating on his shell in a lily pond. Struggle as he might, he could not seem to turn himself right side up. The video showed that poor little guy kicking up a storm and yet, in spite of all of that activity, he kept turning in circles. I can only imagine how frustrating it must have been to not be able to fix the problem by itself. Truth be told, the turtle was in danger of more than just a frustrating afternoon. You see while turtles can swim, they can also drown. Who knows how this little guy got separated from the other turtles or found himself on his back? However, one thing was clear, this turtle needed help and time was of the essence.
Christians face the same dangers when they are disconnected from a faith community. The truth of the matter is that we live in a world that no longer supports traditional Biblical values and the current of our culture is relentless. It isn’t easy to stand on the word of God and apply its truths to your life without the support, encouragement, and prayer of others. It isn’t easy, because it was never supposed to be that way.
You were designed for community. You were built for connection. You were created to need both God and other people. That’s where the Church comes in. A church isn’t a building. It’s a group of people who are committed to following Christ. You see, believing differently and living differently isn’t easy. Nor is it easy to go against the grain of culture. God knew that we would need the support of each other in order to reach grow in our relationship with Him and others. That’s why he tells us in scripture to “not give up meeting together” (Hebrews 10:25).
And yet, for many, oftentimes, the justifications seem to outweigh the risks. Maybe you’ll recognize a few of these beliefs:
“I don’t need to attend church to be a good Christian.”
“Family time is our priority.”
“My kids play sports on the weekends.”
“My church really doesn’t meet my needs.”
“I’m not getting fed at my church.”
“Sunday is really the only day we have off to rest.”
“My church has a bunch of hypocrites.”
The truth of the matter is that the struggle is real. In our busy culture, it can be hard to prioritize church, and yet, when we put faith in one of these justifications we are actually robbing ourselves of one of the greatest blessings that God designed the church to experience. Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us that we should “24 Consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Did you notice the phrases “spur one another” and “encouraging one another”? Meeting and doing life with like-minded Jesus-loving people is one of the greatest benefits of attending church. It’s just like the video of the turtle that was mentioned previously. In the first few seconds of the video, we watched as the little guy struggled all alone. However, over time, if you can bear watching it that long, you’ll see that an entire community of turtles came to its rescue and flipped him right side up. Believe it or not, this is a beautiful picture of the church being the church.
So, do you need to go to church to be a good Christian? No, but you’ll be a healthier one if you do.
Will you have to sacrifice family time to go to Church? Not if you go together.
Will your kids have to give up travel ball to go to church? Maybe, depending on service times, but what will they gain by giving it up?
Will all your needs be met by going to church? Nope, but that’s not the church’s job anyway. That’s God’s job!
Are you going to have to spiritually starve by attending a church? We hope not. In fact, I hope you’ll show up full and help feed those who are new to the faith.
Will you have to give up a day of rest to make church a priority? You may have to give up sleeping in, but true rest is actually found in God’s presence.
Will you have to suffer by being around a bunch of hypocrites? Only if you have achieved perfection. Otherwise, you’ll be around people just like you, who need Jesus and community just as much as you do. At the end of the day, the decision to make church a priority is just that a decision. Here’s hoping you make the one that benefits you and your family!