What I’m about to post will challenge some people, especially those tied to a system, a program or a tradition. I want to challenge you to do something simple, yet necessary; reevaluate your house of worship and it’s leader/s. We will often spend hours and days evaluating purchases, insurance providers, business decisions, doctors offices, etc etc, but it’s never even crossed our minds to evaluate our church body with the same diligence and with the expectation that if it’s not matching the biblical charge of a church, we make a change. Why? You have a right and a responsibility to ensure that your church body and it’s leaders are operating, not as you desire, but by the direction of God.
I want to peek at a passage of scripture that’s used quite frequently by the avid churchgoer and pulpiteer, alike, when referencing the command to attend church. Hebrews 10:25 says, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves, as is the manner of some.” It is, of course, saying that we have a responsiblity, as believers and followers of Christ the head, to not forsake the gathering of the church which is called the body. This verse, while very true, has been used in countless tactics of manipulation to coerse the non-believer or non-attender into getting in church. This passage makes something very clear in it’s meaning; we need each other. But what do we need each other for? This is where I believe your evaluation needs to come in.
When that scripture has been mentioned, never have I heard anyone finish what the scripture says or even quote the verse before, when commanding people to not forget to attend church. The continuation of verse 24 says, “but exhorting one another;” The word exhort means to strongly encourage or urge to do something. Verse 24 says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.” This brings me to a very brief but distinct point and challenge.
The body of believers that you are assembling with and the leader/s that you are assembling under are important; attending church regularly is important, but that assembly is necessary to encourage you and challenge you to become something more in Christ, on your way to pursuing God’s vision for you as a Kingdom citizen. Take this quick litmus test:
- Does your pastor and the circle of people you are closely connected to in your church, urge and excite you to become more than you are?
- Is it a place that your gifts are being discovered and stirred?
- Do they refuse to allow you to sit, comfortably, in a church service each week without falling prey to mediocrity and just being a part of the crowd?
- Are your leaders and church partners a regular source of joy and encouragement, stirring up love and support as you grow and develop?
- Are you challenged to become more because of the body you’re connected to?
My suggestion is that you reevaluate; make yourself answer these questions and be honest with the results. Dissension, division, pain, aggravation and insecurity unfortunately, find their way in many of our churches and leaders, and if we’re not careful we’ll subtly find ourselves dying in their influence because we remain connected out of our loyalty or comfortability, but God has an incredible plan for you and wants to connect you with the right people that can shape you to achieve these dreams. If you’re not being encouraged and challenged to grow, maybe it’s time to rethink what you’re connected to!