By Pastor Donald Parker
This Sunday, September 17, is “National Back to Church Sunday.” First Baptist Church Van Horn will be hosting this event along with thousands of churches across America.
As a pastor, people ask me, “Why do I need to go to church?” They will say, “I don’t need to go to church to talk to God. I don’t need to go to church to become a Christian.” The truth is, they are correct. You don’t need a church to talk to God. You don’t need to go to church to become a Christian. However, you do need a church family. How am I so sure about this? Because God’s Word tells us we do. The Bible gives us many reasons why we need a church family. Allow me to share just a few.
First, you need a church family to help you know the truth of God’s Word. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 says “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”
Paul says a time is coming, and we clearly see this more and more everyday in our society. Some people just want to hear what seems true, what makes sense to them and makes them feel comfortable.
Some people believe the lie that God has changed his mind about the way we are to live our lives. Some people believe the lie that God just wants us to be happy and enjoy life so God has changed his mind and whatever is acceptable in our society is acceptable to God. But that is not what the Bible says. God has not, nor will He ever change His mind about the way we are to live. Numbers 23:19 says “God does not change his mind.” And Hebrews 13:8 tells us “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” You must surround yourself with other believers. You must read and study God’s word together. If you do not, then, you can easily fall victim to believing what makes you feel good and that is not what God says is true.
Another reason you need a church family is for encouragement. Paul writes in Romans 1:12 “When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.” Christians are all brothers and sisters in Christ and we are to come together and be an encouragement to one another. Everybody needs encouragement; every single one us.
Paul also writes in Ephesians 4:29 “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” We don’t hear a lot of encouragement in the world; so, you need a church family to be encouraged and to be an encourager.
Another reason you need a church family is for the fellowship with other believers. Acts 2:42-47 speaks about the activities and behaviors of the early church. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” The first Christians met together in one place reading and studying God’s Word. They encouraged one another. They shared with one another. They ate together. They worshiped together. That is fellowship.
God never intended for you to go through life all alone. He created you for relationships; a personal relationship with Him and a relationship with other believers. Going to church will grow spiritually. Going to church will encourage you. You will enjoy the fellowship of other believers as you praise and worship God together. That is why you need a church family. That’s why going to church should be a priority. I hope you are inspired to get back to church. Start this Sunday. If you don’t have a church home, you are welcome to join us at First Baptist Van Horn. See you Sunday!