In recent years I’ve heard people, especially those in my generation, talk about the erroneous view of the importance of being connected to a local church. “They” talk about their love for God but their disdain for Christians and the local church. I love the response I recently heard that was credited to David Platt.
That’s like me saying I love you, but I hate your wife. Or me telling my wife I love you but I hate your body. You can’t love Christ, but hate His bride or His body.
The importance of the local church cannot be overstated in my life. This past week I witnessed several things that further solidified this.
1) A recently saved and soon-to-be shipped off Marine contacted our church and wanted to be baptized before shipping out. He talked to a few friends about it, and they decided to be baptized as well. The result was a really intimate moment of worship with our staff and the friends and family of those being baptized before we left the office one afternoon. Then we watched as my Pastor helped these 6 people go public with their faith.
2) During worship on Sunday I watched a grandfather watching his grandson worshiping with so much passion and energy that he walked over, hugged him, and worshiped right beside him with the other students. Near the end of worship, this grandfather walked back to his seat wiping tears from his face. I can only imagine how thankful he was to God for a place to worship alongside his future.
3) This past Sunday morning around 3:30 am a young man was killed in an automobile accident. His family attends our church. The father and sister of this young man attended our 10:30 worship service, unbeknownst to my Pastor, who held a special time of prayer for them in the service. During the response/altar time at the close of service I watched as my Pastor ministered very personally to this father who’d only learned of the death of his son a few hours before. The family’s small group has stepped up to walk the next few days of this journey with them.
The church is not perfect. I know some have experienced hurt and pain through the imperfect people of God’s earthly church.
Bill Hybels believes the “local church is the hope of the world”. I support that statement, and believe the church is also the best vehicle for spiritual growth, Biblical community, care and support.
I guess I’m just saying, I love my church!