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Why Church Matters

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.

Hebrews 10:24-25

Watch Week Four: Build Community

Earlier this year we were all shocked when COVID-19, a flu-like virus, spread around the globe creating a pandemic. We watched the news in horror as the number of deaths caused by the superbug rose. In an effort to stop the spread of the virus, government leaders ordered citywide lockdowns, preventing people from gathering and restricting families to their homes. One thing became clear as we were forced to separate: we missed each other. Soon, we all began to create ways of staying connected virtually.

We need and want to be with other. This week, we will discuss the importance of living out our salvation surrounded by Christian community.

Today’s reading comes from the book of Hebrews. The unidentified author of Hebrews addresses a group of believers, Jews and Gentiles, who are being pressured to follow the ways of Judaism. Through warnings and encouragement, the author makes the case for sticking with Jesus. The author also urges his readers to continue habit of assembling, a practice that some had neglected. It’s a serious warning during a serious time because of the pressure of apostasy, among other things. The author of Hebrews knew then what we know today. We are better together. As we’ve seen during the days of COVID-19, isolation can lead to loneliness, depression, and in the most extreme cases, death.

Getting Plugged in to a Local Church

Jesus secured our salvation with his own blood. That means that we are more than just friends and even fellow believers. We are family—members of God’s own household. (Ephesians 2:19; 3:15). We are a beautiful, diverse family made up of people from varied backgrounds, ethnicities, and socioeconomic demographics. And in Christ, none of those things separate us. We are the individual members who make up the body of Christ. We are connected to each other, forever. Paul even says that we belong to one another (Romans 12:5).

God calls us to live out our salvation within the context of community. Getting plugged into a local church is about more than helping to complete some never-ending list of our spiritual chores. It’s a place of be- longing, a place that welcomes both the willing and the weary. The local church facilitates intimacy with God and his people through evangelism and discipleship.

Church is not a place where perfect people look down on less-than-perfect people. Rather the church is made up of people with deep pain and brokenness. We are those people, and we’re on this journey of faith together. As Paul says, we are to help one another and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). What does that help look like? Sometimes it looks like encouragement, sometimes mentorship. It even looks like correction. No matter what, it is all for our benefit and for our growth.


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Daily Question

What has your experience been with the local church? Do you carry scars? How do you think you can become involved or more involved in your local church?

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Comments (22)

I love Jesus.
I think I’ve experienced one of the worst scenarios (I can think of anyway) in a local church. My son (as well as a few other boys) were sexually molested by the music director of our church. It led my son to years of substance abuse. It caused a church separtion. So, yes, I have scars. My son has scars. My daughter and husband carry scars. My mom carries scars – in fact she has disclosed to us she was sexually molested (by a "Christian") when she was a child. We all try to serve the Lord as best we can through the scars. But trust in the local church is not one of our strong points. In fact, going to church really isn’t a priority anymore – it used to be. Maybe someday it will be again. Maybe.

My experience with the local church didn’t begin until I was divorced and dating a wonderful man who later became my husband. My son was 7 years old at the time. When a local church moved from meeting at the community college to meeting within a few miles of my house, we attended the first day at the new location. It was exactly what we were looking for. Later that month, they invited the attendees/members to join a community group that would meet for 18 months. We jumped in with both feet. Before the end of that period, my boyfriend and I got married. We signed up for the next community group, and during that 18 months, my family was baptized. Since the pandemic, we haven’t attended our local church and we’re not involved in a community group. It has had an effect on us all. I’m grateful for this study and reflection so I can remedy that. Community and local church play a big part in our walk of faith.

My experience with the local church as a young person was very different than today. As a child I remember being at church during cold weather. My younger sister pulled some of the fur off the coat of the woman in front of us. When we got home my sister was going to be hit for her behavior and I said don’t hit her, not me, and my father did! We didn’t go to church as a family other than occasion s like weddings and funerals. I remember going to college and going to church and activities there. When winter break came I wanted to go to midnight mass and my father said we couldn’t because we didn’t make reservations. I was indignant and decided not to go to church “at home” for a long time. It was was an older congregation in the winter so I can looking back reason that the church was trying to keep everyone comfortable. At my local church now, until COVID hit the Evening Women’s Bible Study, was a place of encouragement, community and growth. I haven’t been to in person Bible study since last year. Since no one was ready to lead we did not schedule a study the COVID hit. I miss that time together. This is my first study this year. The women have started up with Scripture reading and discussion, however, my husband is in a higher risk group because of heart disease and both of us are older so I did not sign up. One of the leaders reached out to me gently become to participate when I felt ready. We are meant for community and I miss my sisters in Christ. Thank you for being that community for me. I believe the Holy Spirit is prompting me to join the group again. Our Sunday school class has been virtual and the leader just became grandparents with his wife. My husband and I agreed to lead our class for three weeks while he and his wife are away which is getting us to a deeper level of involvement since we have to prepare.

Sorry for some of the typos. I didn’t study this week until now and am doing it on my phone under the covers so I don’t wake up my husband who is sleeping. I think you get the gist. Earlier church life has left scars. Currently wanting connection again and hope to reconnect in person sooner than later. COVID is giving us a chance to reevaluate if we want to continue in our current virtual church or seek one with more real connection opportunities as a couple. My husband helps when he gets called if something is broken since our church doesn’t have a facilities person, however, he doesn’t feel connected there…

My experience had been off putting in the local church, I do carry scars from being abandoned by church family while my husband was deployed to Iraq. Luckily, I was aware of the how big the Church is and found another church that lifted my arms to keep going and they loved me without abandon, even asked me to speak to tell about my husband. That church then started a prayer group and prayer board for loved ones of deployed troops. I have loved being part of the Church, as I have never given up hope on the Church loving well. As a mom, I know love never fails, so I want to keep being involved.

It great to hear there is now some healing that has started. As you said, God’s love never fails. Sometimes humans do. Thanks for your words of encouragement.

I’ve truly always loved church the singing, bible fellowship there
I do believe that the encouragement to others should always be important ( we never know how difficult some things in life can be for others if there is no encouraging mentorship
The COVID-19 has changed life so much
We can still pray study the Bible and have time with God
Although it’s not the same as Sunday worship services its very difficult and different harder too for the elderly we can still turn to God and continue to believe his teachings
God Bless You

Thanks for the encouragement to focus on what we can do. We can turn to God. We can call or text others to reconnect and can even send cards via snail mail to let others know we care.

Yes I’ve had problems with the local church and have had reservations. But after covid I realized that I want to spend more time encouraging the people in the body of believers. We must be united as the days get darker as JESUS prayed in John 17 : 20-23: ““My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
‭‭John‬ ‭17:20-23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We started attending a new church in January 2020. Covid hit before we had the chance to join any groups. I have since joined two ladies groups and we started a couples group yesterday, all meet virtually. We had attended the church we left for 23 years and no one has noticed that we’re gone. As soon as we turn off our on-line giving, we will probably get a phone call. It makes me sad that we attended and were pretty involved in a church for all those years that doesn’t seem to miss our presence at all. I’m looking forward to getting more involved in the small groups and couples group at our new church. I hope we have found a church that cares more abou their people.

I do like my local church that I go too, But with the pandemic, it has been hard to have bible studies. I don’t like the virtual groups that my church does. It is not just the same as in person. So over the summer, I held a small bible study at my home with a few of my co-workers. That bible study was such a blessing in so many ways. Now with the schools that have started, our time is very limited to having a new bible study. So I am going to do my first IF: TABLE this weekend with my bible study friends. I am very excited to host this and it will be a blessing too!

I agree 100% online is No replacement for in person! JESUS didnt meet with people online 😫🥺🤦🏼‍♀️ just imagine if He did!!😳

Ah well, if there were a global pandemic and online existed in Jesus’ time, He likely would have met online! In my experience, absolutely NOTHING stops the Holy Spirit! I’ve been part of many online meetings where the Holy Spirit was there in power! We can’t hug each other online, but then we can’t do that in person right now anyway, outside of our bubbles. I’m grateful that we do have the internet available during this time, and we can continue meeting together. <3

I have mostly positive experiences with the local church. However, I did have one hurtful experience that helped me understand that the church isn’t perfect because it is full of broken people and that is the whole point. That we come together broken and make mistakes but in the end we are doing our best to live like Jesus and forgive when we fall short. I am searching for a local church in a small town that doesn’t have churches I am use to. I miss being part of a church community. It is heavy on my heart to find one and begin community again. I’ve enjoyed streaming my old church’s services while we’ve been under stay-at-home orders but I really want one close to my home. I am praying that my search through the end of the year is fruitful and I can find a church to call home.

Some of my deepest friendships have been from growing in community in a local church. Through discipleship, community groups, and intentional mommy and me play dates I have grown in my faith and experienced Jesus’ love through others.

My husband and I are discerning opening our home to invite a small group to watch our church service and share a meal after. I am an extrovert so my answer is "Yes!" but I know it take my husband sometime to be comfortable and host. Prayer on how to navigate that and while also obedient to God’s calling of community.

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