The culture continues to be hostile to the Christian worldview. Social media outlets are becoming more aggressive towards us, and cancelations by the culture of confusion continue to increase. Where do we turn? The answer isn’t clever or new. We turn to the local church. Here’s why.
First, the church is the community of God. The local church provides us with community and support. Being with other Christians revitalizes our souls. “The physical presence of other Christians,” Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer.”
The community provided by the church gives us relief from the chaos. It’s the place we can retreat to where truth replaces confusion and brothers and sisters in Christ can find rest for their souls. The church is more than a community, though.
Second, the church is the body of Christ. Understanding the church as the body of Christ keeps us from reducing church to some social club, historical society, or charitable organization. As the body of Christ, we represent a new work of God in the midst of an old, fallen world.
The conflict we’re experiencing now with the culture is a result of the old, Adamic world colliding with the new kingdom brought by Jesus. This is why life is so hard. There’s a mighty tension between two completely different realms ripping our cultural community apart.
We, however, are forever knit together as one body, organically connected to each other. The life and strength of Christ himself flows through each of us as we gather together. Though Satan employs his schemes, trying to tear the body apart, the gates of Hell will not prevail against Christ’s church (Matt. 16:18).
Third, the church is our training ground. The local community of Christians is where we equip ambassadors for Christ to confront the devil’s lies. True theologians and apologists are made within the church, to act for the church, in the name of the church.
Only in recent times have efforts been made to move theology and apologetics to the margins in the local church, away from the convictions and practices of the Christian life. It’s created a mess of disjointed and misguided theology and a lack of unity.
Our times are defined by anxiety, restlessness, depression, and distraction. Daily life is a performance-based, soul-crushing grind that robs us of our joy. God-substitutes are everywhere, yet none can satisfy the deep yearning in each of our hearts.
The church is God’s answer to all of this. When we gather together as the body of Christ each week, we are rebuilt and equipped through word, water, bread, wine, and life together. But there’s more.
Fourth, the church is also the battlefield. We’re in a battle with the forces of darkness. When we gather each week, we participate in warfare side-by-side with other believers all over the planet.
The local church is where we become fortified and stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Paul puts it this way: “Through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Eph. 3:10).
Our cancel culture is cutthroat. It needs love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. Sound familiar? Where are these things going to come from if not from the Holy Spirit bearing his fruit in the lives of God’s people, the church?
Those are four reasons why participation in the local church is so important. It’s the place we go when we’re weary, battered, and tired from facing a world gone wrong. It’s where we go to find clarity in the chaos, peace for the anxious, hope for the depressed, salvation for the sinner, and a still point for the distracted.