5 Reasons You Should Go Back to Church
- Victoria Riollano iBelieve Contributor
- 2021 18 Jun
In 2020, the world dramatically shifted at the onset of COVID-19. Travel was restricted, people were encouraged to stay home and many businesses were forced to shut down. Whether you feel like the pandemic was planned, fake, or truly deadly, most people were impacted in some capacity. This included the church. Church leaders had to make a critical choice on whether to close, go virtual, or meet in unconventional ways. In doing so, many church members became accustomed to not needing to go into the church building to feel spiritually fulfilled. And now, a year later, with restrictions being rapidly lifted, many churches are noticing that parishioners are no longer attending in-person services. According to the Christian Post, SBC churches have seen a decline of 400,000 fewer members since the start of COVID-19. Others report a 60% decline in church attendance as of January 2021. Whether it be for fear of getting sick, disagreement over the church’s COVID protocol or not wanting to add church back into their weekly routine, it appears that churches look vastly different than ever. Nonetheless, we can see that coming together with other believers should still be valued. Although some may say that church “is in your heart” or that “church exists outside of the four walls,” there are still many aspects of the local church that can be of great benefit to the believer.
With this in mind, here are five reasons to consider returning to church:
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Learning about God and teaching others to know God is a vital piece of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28. Within the church community, we find Bible studies and meet-ups that encourage us to dig deeper into the Bible and various topics on spiritual formation. The Sunday morning message gives us a glimpse of this. However, the opportunities to speak and talk with another adds a layer of depth to our spiritual journey. According to Trillia Newbell, author and former Director of Community Outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention, discipleship has three major benefits:
- It teaches us humility as we recognize we need to receive counsel and instruction from others.
- Discipleship unites us with fellow believers as it teaches us to invite others in our lives.
- Discipleship unites us with fellow believers as we help teach others the ways of the Lord.
Without finding a community in which to grow deeper in our relationship with Christ, we may rely solely on our own wisdom or perspective of the Bible. Instead, when we come together with other church members we grow together, learn together, and teach one another God’s truth.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Within church communities, believers can find accountability among one another. When we come together weekly, we have an opportunity to be accountable to one another and seek help for what may be hindering us spiritually. Accountability can come from the stage as the pastor shares the message for the week. Additionally, in true church community, churchgoers can find friends they can be vulnerable with. Thus, each Sunday, believers get the opportunity to be challenged from the stage and in intimate relationships. As a church planter, I have seen beautiful deeply-rooted friendships blossom with those who’ve made a choice to plug in and see church as their “family of choice.”
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (Proverbs 27:17)
2. Greater Safety Measures
Early in the COVID-19 process, the local church was considered one of the most dangerous places to attend. With the combination of the close seating, passing of material, and singing, churches have been seen as a breeding ground for potential COVID outbreaks. However, churches have radically changed their model to ensure safety of all congregants. Mandatory cleanings between services, pews that are several feet apart, no passing of offering buckets or handouts, and strict mask policies (for some), have made churches safer than going to the local grocery store. Many churches have created an experience that allows the service to be entirely touch free. This is in addition to rising numbers of those in the US who have been started their first vaccination climbing to over 50%. So, although, some have used COVID as an excuse to skip church to visit the beach, it is clear that this choice is now more of a heart issue than a health concern.
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4. Being of Service
As believers, we all have a role in spreading the gospel. Throughout the New Testament, churches (as a whole) and individual churches create the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ represents the active and living opportunity to be like Christ Jesus and share the gospel to all the world. Each church fulfills its purpose in this journey and every believer holds a role within the local church. While few may be called to be a church leader, many may be called to teach, encourage, give generously, sing, lead prayer or even help with outreach. The Lord has blessed every believer with certain gifts that build His church and are used for His glory. Our role is to seek the Lord for how we can be of service. We can study and learn the word on our own, but within the local church we can put it into practice. So many local churches are in desperate need of those who will simply show up and offer to assist by being a friendly face opening the door, helping to teach the children, or even to support the church’s needs through giving. When we neglect to go to church and be of service, we miss out on being a part of someone else’s spiritual development.
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:4-8)
We were never meant to walk our Christian journey alone. In fact, one scheme of the enemy is to isolate believers. Together, we can pray for one another. Together, we can seek God and believe for a miracle in impossible situations. We see this model in Mark 6:7, as he sends out the disciples in pairs. It’s clear, we weren’t meant to walk out our faith alone. Although the virtual model of church continues to share the gospel abroad, it may still force believers into a state of isolation. In his book, When The Church Was Family, Joseph Hellerman states that church should not just be focused on one’s relationship with God, but also relationships with one another. The entire early church experience was founded within the context of community from Jesus’ choosing of the twelve disciples, to the 5,000 fed, to the upper room encounter with the Holy Spirit, and the first churches meeting within homes. The Christian experience was founded on togetherness. Even the Lord’s prayer isn’t in singular form as it states,
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
but deliver us from the evil one.
It is clear that the Lord wants us to walk out our faith together and in person. Seek the Lord today for local churches where you can be of service and that can minister to your family in this time. For assistance on finding a local church visit here.
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)
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