Why should I engage in the life of the church?
by Pastor John Mann | August 18, 2015I frequently read articles discussing the decreasing number of people who attend church today. In the past, most of the articles focused on how the culture has ceased attending church at unprecedented rates. This is generally attributed to the post-Christian society in which we live. In other words, church attendance is not as important to the average American today as it was thirty or forty years ago.
Understandably, the majority of the people who do not attend church regularly do not consider themselves “committed Christians.” As disheartening as this may be, it at least seems logical that non-attenders would not consider themselves “committed Christians.”
"it has become common for non-attenders to consider themselves 'committed Christians'"
However, the articles I read are no longer focused on the lack of church attendance within the culture at large. Now, the articles focus, at an increasing rate, on people who consider themselves “committed Christians,” yet no longer see the need to engage in the life of the church through regular attendance and service.
In other words, it has become common for non-attenders to consider themselves “committed Christians.”
To the person who would say they are a committed Christian, yet do not actively engage in the life of the church, I would pose the following question: “Would you say that churches are beneficial to Christians?” If you answer ‘yes,’ I would ask, “Then why do you not see it as your duty to keep your church as strong as you possibly can in order to benefit others?”
Further, “If everyone who considers themselves a committed Christian were only as committed to the church as you are, what would be the state of all churches today?”
I have numerous thoughts about the relationship of “committed Christians” in regard to church attendance, but for now, I want to offer three reasons why a person should be actively engaged in the life of their local church.
“If every committed Christian was as uncommitted to the church as you are, what would be the state of all churches today?”
First, being engaged in the life of the church offers assurance that we will not be overcome by Satan. Christ has promised that the gates of hell would not be able to prevail against the CHURCH (Matt 16:18).
Therefore, we are the receptors of that promise as we are engaged in the life of the church. It is in the life of the church that where are growing in our awareness of Christ's promise. We are more able to withstand the wiles of the devil. We are surrounded by a group of watchmen who intercede on our behalf. We are strengthened by those who come along side of us as we struggle with various trials.
Christ’s promise of resistance is given to the local church.
"being engaged in the life of the church is the assurance we have that we will not be overcome by Satan."
Second, being engaged in the life of the church is how Christ brings encouragement to the believer to persevere in the faith. In Hebrews 10:25 and 1 Thessalonians 4:18 (along with numerous other places) the Bible teaches that one of the roles of the church is to encourage one another throughout the trials of life.
I have never known a person who was not in need of encouragement on a regular basis. At the heart of the issue is the place that you will turn for the encouragement you need. According to the Bible, the church is the place where God has chosen to give encouragement.
By engaging in the life of the local church, you are putting yourself in position to receive an abundance of encouragement from God Himself. Indeed, God has not limited His work to the local church, but He has focused His work on the church. Really, it is a question of whether you want the main course or the leftovers.
"being engaged in the life of the church is how Christ brings encouragement to the believer to persevere in the faith"
Finally, the church is where the believer is able to fulfill the innate the desire that is within each person to serve in a meaningful way. We have the desire to serve because Christ Himself did not come to be served, but to serve (Matt 20:28).
It is the very nature of God that prompts His continuous self-giving. Where in Scripture does God withhold Himself from those who seek His face? Nowhere. In fact, He said through Jeremiah “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart” (Jer 29:13). It is the nature of God to give.
"But the Cross changes everything."
Likewise, due to mankind being created in the image of God, it is our nature to be giving. However, that nature has been corrupted by the fall. Now, instead of giving with delight, we find ourselves far too quick to wallow in self-pity for what others do not give to us.
But the Cross changes everything.
To those who have come to know Christ through His cross, the image of God is being restored. By virtue of the ongoing restoration of God’s image, there is a growing desire for each believer to serve in a meaningful way.
In fact, there is no more miserable person in the world than the Christian who is not actively giving of himself for others.
"there is no more miserable person in the world than the Christian who is not actively giving of himself for others."
God is so serious about the self-giving of His children that the Holy Spirit has imparted to us spiritual gifts that we are to incorporate into the life of the church. In fact, the Bible talks about spiritual gifts on four occasions (Rom 12:1-13; 1 Cor 12-14; Eph 4:1-16; 1 Pet 4:7-11). In each one of these passages, the context is intended to encourage the believer in his or her service to the church.
"engage in the life of the church for Christ’s satisfaction and your joy"
So, why should we be engaged in the life of the church? Because in the life of the church we have the capacity to withstand the temptations of Satan, we are encouraged to persevere, and we are provided with a place to serve.
In short, engage in the life of the church for Christ’s satisfaction and your joy.