I remember back to the days of before I became a Christian – I refused, on all costs, to go to church out of my own will.
“Hey you should come to church this week!” “Yeah…maybe. We’ll see…”
I was highly intimidated by the thought of church. As a shy and introverted person [people who know me in real life may call me out on this one, haha – but honestly I’ve just learnt how to fake being extroverted pretty well over the past 15 years or so] it terrified me to go to somewhere where there would be MASSES of people I didn’t know, to have to be SEEN [and possibly approched? Or APPROACH PEOPLE!? GAH!!], to engage in awkward small talk about stuff I knew nothing about [or possibly cared nothing about]…MEET PEOPLE? ME? The scared introvert inside me cowered.
So in short, the idea of going to church scared me sh*tless. My mother would always ask me to try going to one with her and I would adamantly refuse, saying, “I can still believe in God, I don’t need to go to church to believe.”
Nearly 10 years down the track, I see how wrong I was – and how much my life has changed for the better after I stopped letting fear run my life – fear of people, fear of opinions, fear of what I didn’t know….of anything and everything, really.
So…why DO we need to go to church? [this is directed to the Christians…of course I would love for non-Christians to also come to church – the right one anyway – but I ain’t about to smack anyone in the face with a Bible, if you get my drift heh]
A couple of reasons that I have experienced for myself/seen in others:
Man was not created to be alone – people need people. And as much as I hate people sometimes and want to be left alone, we weren’t meant to try and figure this life thing all out by ourselves. Church brings community, accountability – allowing for us to become support and strength for one another. Strength in numbers!
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: if one falls down, his friend can help him up, But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
Okay…so this isn’t a mutually exclusive point but – interacting with others allows for us to learn and grow in our faith and understanding from other’s knowledge/wisdom, and vice versa. We can always give greater insight on something to someone else, and conversely back to us. Face it – we don’t know everything about everything.
Not to mention – dealing with a whole lot of different people with different characters and personalities challenges us to grow in areas we might not have encountered before. Such as, patience and tolerance. HAHA. [and grace…let us not forget grace=P ]
Hebrews 5: 12-14
“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives in milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
I would mention teachng…but that’s kind of self explainatory and falls under growth of some sort, anyway:)
In all aspects, [I know now that] church is not defined by the building, but rather the PEOPLE – each who form the body of Christ, with Jesus as the cornerstone foundation – and each person has their own unique purpose to work as one whole, functioning body.
After all, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything great and widespread if we were all created the same and could only do the same thing, right? [embrace your differences – DO YOU BOO. Ahahaha.]
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.”
1 Corinthians 12-26
“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body was a eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, ever one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
So although we go to church in a building each week [or should strive to] – we go for the greater purpose of BEING the church, building each other up in Christ and supporting each other, and learning from one another when the storms in life come.
One more time? Don’t be afraid – we ALL need people, the RIGHT people in our lives. And….DO YOU BOO. Ahahaha. It could change your life [disclaimer: provided you find the right church, haha]! I wish I could have told this to my terrified teenage self all those years ago…