Have you ever found a perfect church? Do you remain connected to the local church as a spiritual commitment? Why don’t you go to church weekly? Is it a good idea?
Edith Stein wrote: “The most accessible conception for the human soul is that of a church consisting of a community of believers. Whoever believes in Jesus Christ and his Gospel, and hopes for the fulfillment of his promises, whoever is lovingly attached to him and obeys his commandments, must also be one of all those who share in the same spirit through deep fellowship and love.” That is a beautiful expression of what a church is to me. Although I have my personal preferences in worship, if the focus remains on God I can worship in any venue.
Since I have worked at a church for several decades, it is inconceivable for me to not be a part of a church. However, there was a time when it was a choice, not employment. I attended every week. I joined with fellow strugglers who desired to order their lives according to God’s direction for Christians. He is the one who says that we should gather as a church on a regular basis. Hebrews 10:24-25: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Following God is very difficult. It is made a little easier if you do it within the context of a church community. This was brought to light to me more this week as I have had increased prayer needs for people who do not have a church where they meet regularly. It’s rough to go through hard times without a church who surrounds you in prayer.
In my times of crises, and there have been many, my church was there for me. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, they bring food, they bring presence, they bring love, support and care. It goes a long way in desperate situations. A church that loves, encourages and prays for you is the best church to connect with.
So many people move from church to church to find the place where they feel most comfortable. This can be based on the length of the sermon, the style of the music, or the programs for their children. The best way to be part of a church is to ask God to lead you. Follow His direction to an imperfect group of believers, then get involved. Find a way to be a part of His Kingdom work through that congregation. Find a way to connect to God through the worship experience. If you don’t like the music, then use that to keep you alert to the lines you are being asked to sing and consider whether your heart really means what your voice is reciting. Believe that God’s word does not go out void, so if the preacher is not the most dynamic, listen for something dynamic from the heart of God to your very heart because His word is being proclaimed.
Whatever it takes, decide to be a part of a church that disappoints you in some ways, but draws you together with other believers who will encourage, support and pray for you as well as give you a place to serve and grow in your knowledge of what your faith means to you.
The imperfect church is the place to do this best. Make a commitment for your soul to follow God’s direction to be connected to a church.