I’ve heard so many people say that they don’t need to go to church to believe in God. While that statement is very true, it speaks mostly about the mindset that church is not needed, now this is the part that is untrue.
I used to have this mindset, mostly because I felt hurt by the church. Although, as I grew in my walk with God I soon realized that it wasn’t the church that hurt me, it was the people in it. Those very same people were not supposed to be saints though, they are human just like me. We all make mistakes, we all sometimes don’t act in the spirit, we all sin in our own way. Even Godly leaders, although they do their best to be good leaders, they’re bound to mess up too from time to time. Unfortunately some of us fall at the receiving end of that, and we end up hurt. That too is part of our journey in putting our trust in God alone and not in people. That was my mistake, my faith was in people at that point, more than it was in God.
The truth is, we are called to be in fellowship and community with one another, we are called to walk this walk together. We are called to help each other grow in our faith journey, to raise up generations who will spread the gospel. We are called to pray for one another, to love one another. We are called to serve one another.
We are all in different stages of our faith journey, and we all have something to teach and learn. Being part of a church community opens up doors for this to take place. I have shared so many moments, where I have been given the opportunity to share something that really helped someone with something they were going through. I have also had so many moments in conversations over coffee at church, where someone had said something to me that helped me with something I was going through or even just helped answer a question I had. A warm smile, a warm welcome, a word of encouragement, a prayer.. It all does wonders along your faith journey.
“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.” Hebrews 10:24–25 NIV
God uses those around us to speak to us, teach us, answer us, encourage us and love us. God uses us in these very same ways for others. God promises to be with us when we gather together, and because He is there, this is possible.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20
With the shifts I have been working it’s been very difficult to get to church as I also work Sunday shifts. For 6 months I’ve had to watch online church and keep up to date with people via social media and whatsapp. Although, my relationship with God did not slide, my faith continued to grow stronger, and online church is super convenient. It’s just not the same, I missed the warm smiles and embraces, the friendship, the laughs, the prayer. I missed being able to share successes, failures, sins, praises with others along my journey the past 6 months. It was lonely, even though God was ever present in my life, something still lacked. I missed community and I underestimated the important role community plays in our journey.
I go to a rather big church, but even in this church, there are small communities within one big community. We have mid week grow groups, courses etc and all of those plus the friendships met my physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Church is not only about worshipping together and hearing a teaching, it’s about so much more. It’s about family, and when God created us, he designed us to be part of a family. When we receive His Spirit, he adopted us into His family.
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” – Romans 12:10, ESV
We are better together! We can accomplish so much more! I am currently watching a series called: “When calls the Heart”. It’s about a small village of people in a mining community. They love one another, there’s moments of forgiveness, friendship, encouragement, teaching, learning from one another. When the town has a need, they all come together and use their various personalities and talents to make it happen. They lift each other up, they love each other. I was reminded of church community while watching this series. I think that’s exactly what God intended for the church.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16
In conclusion, we may think we don’t need church, but we do. We just have to get out of our comfort zones and push ourselves to be involved. There is nothing more beautiful than a group of people who love the Lord gathering together in His name, to worship Him, to serve Him by serving others, to grow together and to love Him by loving others.
There is a special place for each and every one of us to be involved in the church and to create an environment that will bring an unbeliever to come to know God.
To answer my question in the title of this blog, do we need community? Yes we do, more than we think we do.