A popular false teaching says you can be a Christian without going to church. Many people say they love Jesus but hate religion or they can worship God privately just as well. But if you are a Christian, Jesus expects you to go to church.
Paul often teaches that the church is Jesus’ body and we are its members: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27). We are urged to “not give up meeting together…but let us encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:25).
You cannot belong to Jesus without belonging to His body. Going to church is a vital part of your identity in Him. So the question is not, “Should I go to church?” The question is, “Where should I go to church?”
Some Christians find a church the way they find something to watch on T.V. – they flip through churches until they find one that entertains them most. This approach reduces church to a form of religious entertainment and does not produce the sort of commitment that Jesus desires.
We must identify what it means to be a “good church” and be deliberate about finding one. A good church:
Upholds the Bible as Its Authority
1 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.” A good church respects the Bible’s claim to be God’s Word and submits to its authority in all matters of faith and practice. In other words, a good church allows the Bible to define what it believes and how it ministers.
Shows Signs of Health and Growth
Churches usually count attendance and giving at their weekly worship service. While these numbers are important, they aren’t necessarily indicators of health and growth. A good church reports numbers that reflect an increased commitment to Jesus (such as baptism and church membership).
Ministers to the Whole Family
A good church will offer some sort of ministry for all age groups. Make sure there is a nursery ministry, children’s ministry, youth ministry, men’s ministry, and women’s ministry. Don’t overlook the needs of your spouse or children when finding a church.
Has Opportunities to Get Involved
Jesus has uniquely gifted each of us to serve the church “so that the body of Christ may be built up…as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:12, 16). A good church will have opportunities for you to serve according to your interests and abilities. “Going to church” means more than just attending a worship service; it means committing and contributing to the ongoing ministry of a local church.
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