7 July 2011

Why Church?

Whenever people find out I'm a Christian, one of the first questions that they ask is whether or not I go to church every Sunday. The answer is yes. And then pretty much. And then a slightly awkward silence where I go on to tell them I'm not religious about it; at which point they look at me funny and attempt to understand.

I go to church. Not to Church; as in church isn't a place, it's something that happens in a place.

Still confused? I'll try to be clearer.

The word Church in the bible is first mentioned in the New Testament (Matthew 16.15-18). Before then there was no mention of it. What you do see a lot of mention of is the Synagogue.

A Synagogue was (and still is) a building of worship for the Jews.

The church Jesus was describing was a group of people, not a place.

When I go to church, it's for the people. I can worship God anywhere. When Jesus died he removed the need for anyone else to intercede in order for me to communicate with Him. If I want to pray, I can do it on my own. What God wanted was a group of people; His people (Jeremiah 32.38, Hebrews 8.10). He wanted a group of people all in a relationship with Him.

'Churching' is just corporate Christianity; like a group of people who like to do the same thing hanging out together and doing that thing they like to do so much as a group.

The best thing about church is the fact that it is a community. It's a group of friends who are all going through the same stuff you have to go through day-to-day, who can encourage you when you need it most and help you celebrate all your victories.

Church is an opportunity to help others and for you to find help in others (Galatians 6.2, Ephesians 4.2, Ephesians 4.32). The New Testament believers were supposed to support each other, even in the day-to-day needs like food and clothing (1 Peter 4.9), so that no-one went without what they needed.

That said, God doesn't say anywhere that we HAVE to church. It's more for our own benefit that we spend time together (Acts 2.42) as friends do, and help to keep each other on the right track. So yes, I do go to church most Sundays, but it's not because I have to, it's because I want to. And I do miss church occasionally. I'm not religious about it, but when I don't go I do miss the company of my Christian friends, and when I do go I do reap the benefits of spending time with other like-minded people.

No comments:

Post a Comment