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4 reasons Christians need the church

By: Heidi Charalambous

A few weeks after high school graduation and shortly before leaving for college, my dad came home with a 1995 Mitsubishi Galant. This car was a serious upgrade from the 1982 Mercury Grand Marquis I’d been sharing with my brother. She had leather seats, a radio that worked, a six-disc changer and a sunroof. While those features were nice, they didn’t seem necessary. I was most excited about the freedom of having a car that was mine and the opportunity to spend my paycheck on something other than gas.

For a long time, I felt the same way about church as I did about the sunroof in my car. I liked the idea of church. I even enjoyed coming to church. But like many people, I believed the lie that while church was a nice part of Christianity, it wasn’t necessary to follow Jesus.

Christians need the church, and here are four reasons why:

1. We need other Christians.

If you want to know what you believe, listen to what your friends say. The more time we spend around people who ridicule God, the more we allow their attitudes to affect our thoughts and attitudes (Psalm 1:1-2). The more time we spend with God’s people and in His presence, the more like Jesus we become. That’s why the writer of Hebrews encouraged Christians at that time not to give up meeting together. If we want to hold unswervingly to our faith, we need to surround ourselves with people who will encourage us to follow Jesus even when it’s hard, to have faith when everything seems hopeless, and to rely on Jesus even when we think we can do everything on our own (Hebrews 10:23-25).

2.  We need opportunities to discover our spiritual gifts.

Every one us has a skill God wants to use to help others know Him and follow Him. The Bible calls these skills spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12), and we discover our spiritual gifts the same way we discover any other kind of special talent. Kobe Bryant realized he was great at basketball when he started playing basketball. Katy Perry discovered she could could sing when she started singing. We will never uncover what God has equipped and called us to do if we don’t get involved.

3. We need authority.

We don’t have to believe anything anyone tells us about God. He appointed men and women in the church to lead us and to teach us (Hebrews 13:17). God gave us the Bible and the church so we can know what’s from Him. Through the church’s authority structure, we can test and see what’s of God and what isn’t when we can’t tell on our own. When we’ve prayed, read the Bible and still aren’t sure what to do, the church is where we go for advice.

4. We never stop needing grace.

Church people are not perfect people. We are forgiven, but we are still sinners. No matter how long we’ve been following Jesus, we are going to screw up, fall short and sin. And when we do, we need a place where we can come to be healed, restored and renewed. That place is the church.

The sunroof in my little red Galant ruined me. I can’t imagine owning a car without a sunroof ever again. The same is true when it comes to church.

As I made friends, joined a group and started serving, God changed me. I woke up one day and realized I couldn’t imagine not being involved in church. Church is no longer just nice; it’s necessary.

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