One term we have heard recently is "essential" - essential businesses, essential workers, etc. Christianity has some essential elements as well. Certainly, true Christianity is not possible without being born again. Jesus said, "Ye must be born again!" The Bible and prayer are essential to what we believe as well as our fellowship with God. Another necessary component to our faith is the church
Years ago, church attendance was much more common in our country. To many today, church is practically irrelevant except on occasions of weddings or funerals, and then sometimes that is not even necessary. However, for the Christian who is interested in being a follower of Christ, it must be recognized that God intends for His children to be part of a local assembly of baptized believers.
The church is where fellowship with other believers develops. The church is a place where we serve and give and worship. Live-streamed church services and preachers on television can be helpful, but they are not a substitute for making a commitment to a church.
But which church? There are so many denominations, so many different view points. There have been scandals and indiscretions and disappointments. Here are a some things to keep in mind:
1. There is no perfect church. Nor are there perfect pastors. Neither are the people in the church without fault. That is because the church is made up of sinners whom God is in the process of transforming. That is not to excuse sin and bad decisions. But if you are looking for the perfect church or pastor, you won't find it.
2. There is a perfect will of God for you and your family. Romans 12:2 tells us that the will of God can be proven. There is a place where God wants a Christian to be. Through prayer, wisdom, the Word of God, and the leading of the Holy Spirit, that church can be found. Determine to follow God's specific plan for you in this area.
3. Join a church which teaches, preaches, and practices the Bible. Don't be afraid to ask questions and discuss matters of importance. Give others room for disagreement over non-essential issues. The Bible is the foundation of the Christian's faith.
4. Avoid the entertainment culture that many churches have turned to. Church is not about you or your experience or how the church benefits you. It is about God. It is about worshiping and obeying Him. A church that feels like a concert or a club is probably not the church a serious follower of Christ should be part of.
5. Once you have found the place where God wants you to be, grow in your commitment to God through the church. Don't be content with sitting on the sidelines, and letting church "happen" around you. Become involved. A good pastor will help new members find a ministry in which they can serve. Be a contributor, not just an attendant.
During a difficult season in our nation and world, when going to places in person has been frowned upon, make a commitment to following God's essential plan for the Christian, and become part of a Bible-believing church.
Pastor Ben Newman