There are so many churches (referring to denominations, ministries or assemblies) nowadays that every believer should find one that suits them.
The local church provides a platform for nurturing believers. We find fellowship in the local church.
Pros and cons can be adduced to the increase in, some say mushrooming of, churches.
However, every born again believer should be attached to one, a sound one for that matter.
There’s so much turnover in churches these days leaving no time for the newcomer to grow.
Others have opted for virtual/online ministry (internet and satellite broadcasting).
While these means are noble, they don’t substitute the local church.
Deciding on which local church to identify with is a serious matter and should be done prayerfully and purposefully.
Sincere online ministries and study groups help in teaching the Word.
They have limits though in oversight and accountability.
There’s a certain degree of ministry that can’t be achieved online.
Please note that letters written by the apostles didn’t ever replace gatherings and accountability back then.
Believers should attend and belong to and be accountable in churches.
Apostle Paul encouraged that his letters be read out in the physical gathering of saints.
We, therefore, make use of responsible online ministry, but remain committed and submissive to our local church.
We’re not rebellious. 1 Corinthians 11:18a hammers the point of gathering together: “For first of all, when ye come together in the church.”
1 Corinthians 14:26 weighs in: “How is it then, brethren? When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation.
Let all things be done unto edifying.”
We get encouragement, edification and comfort in our gathering.
What is the local church?
The local church refers to a gathering of believers in a particular location and is a part of the universal church, the body of Christ, which consists of believers in every part of the world.
Romans 12:5 reads: “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”
We’re different members but we’re of one body.
1 Corinthians 12:12 puts it: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”
We’re built up together as Ephesians 2:22 says: “In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
It’s, therefore, necessary to fellowship with others in the local church.
As I fellowship with many on this platform, one issue that comes up often is that a considerable number don’t have churches that teach the Gospel of Christ near them.
In this instalment and in the coming weeks, we shall tackle the issue of identifying a local church we fit in.
I will be using various sources, but of note I have taken a considerable amount from Lanre Alonge.
No one should be churchless.
Finding a local church, as simple as it may sound requires the wisdom of God’s Word and so does getting and staying committed there.
It’s not as simple as locating a venue.
These days there’re many churches in homes, classrooms, offices and many other places near you.
Its closeness to your place of residence, a common consideration with many people today, would be unwise.
Many people travel abroad to study or to get medical attention.
This is an indication of a desire for the best available.
The same attitude should be employed for something as important and eternal as locating a church to attend.
If you take your Christian life seriously, you should choose to attend the best local church available.
With the trend these days, it’s easy to get carried away by good music, text messages (SMS) and nice-looking ushers and first-timer gifts and food packs.
Please note that this isn’t an advocacy against well organised and structured church set up and administration.
Some are even carried away by activities, they are not learning the Word of God or growing up spiritually in the church; they play the keyboard, play the drums, are in drama group etc. They would rather be involved in activities than grow up spiritually.
Others yet still are in a particular church because “It’s our family church,” “my friends are in the church” or “I have connections there”.
All these considerations may make sense to the carnal man, but have no spiritual benefit.
Please go to church and make a date next week and grab your copy of NewsDay Weekender.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you through knowledge.