Don't Date the Church

We have seen some amazing growth in our church lately. Praise the Lord we will be transitioning into our new building where our congregation can now come together after being divided up into multiple services for so long. With this in mind it is important for us to remember that the size of a building doesn’t matter. What matters is our growth in a gospel-centered community. If we are not careful our church can be a way for people to get lost in a sea of numbers, never to be seen or discipled. We as a church body have a responsibility to seek out people we may not know and draw them in, but if we find ourselves lost in that very sea, we also have an equal responsibility to plug into the church. There is more to church than a Sunday morning service. Yes, preaching sound doctrine is vital. Yes, worshipping the Lord Sunday morning is essential. But these should not be observed only once a week for two hours. It’s something that should be practiced in a community with other brothers and sisters in Christ daily.

If we are not careful our church can be a way for people to get lost in a sea of numbers, never to be seen or discipled.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:24-25

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” – Proverbs 27:17

We can’t effectively change our community if we only show up on Sunday. The church is the bride of Christ and Christ is the groom. That means we can’t date the church and show up only when we feel like it. We must be committed to Christ and to fellow believers as He is to us. If you’re married and you talk to your spouse or see your spouse once a week, it won’t help sustain your marriage. Marriage is a 24/7 commitment and a vow. A vow to remain faithful for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. Even when we get to know the not so glamorous side of our spouse, we still made that vow to forever love and serve them. The same goes with Christ and the church. We are to serve one another and lay down our life for one another, in sickness and in health, richer or for poor. We are not to date the church but marry it. How do we do that? We get involved in the church and use the gifts the Lord has given us to help one another grow closer to Christ: Join a Home Group, a Prayer Team, help the Youth Group, help clean the church building, stack chairs, do local or foreign missions, feed the homeless, hand out church bulletins, or simply invite your neighbors over for dinner. These simple acts might seem small and insignificant to others, but it is a great help to the Kingdom of God. Please check out this site and find out how you can serve.

The Church is also a place where we can be vulnerable and open with each other, so we can help each other out in our hurts, struggles, and anxieties. The church is not perfect, but it is a hospital where we are being perfected, sanctified, and transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are also a family, the body of Christ. The goal is not to make a church building bigger. The goal is to make Christ bigger in the local community and to bring it under the Lordship of Christ Jesus, so the community can experience freedom in Christ and spread out to make disciples out of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This all starts in our small town of Newark, Ohio. Where do you fit into the community? How will you serve?

The church is not perfect, but it is a hospital where we are being perfected, sanctified, and transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

“As I have already said, the Church is faulty, but that is no excuse for your not joining it, if you are the Lord’s. Nor need your own faults keep you back, for the Church is not an institution for perfect people, but a sanctuary for sinners saved by Grace, who, though they are saved, are still sinners and need all the help they can derive from the sympathy and guidance of their fellow Believers. The Church is the nursery of God’s weak children where they are nourished and grow strong. It is the fold for Christ’s sheep, the home for Christ’s family.” – Charles Spurgeon, “The Best Donation,” (No.2234) an exposition of 2 Corinthians 8:5 delivered on April 5, 1891 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London England.