Are you a part of a local church?
The ultimate and the most profound collective of which anyone could be a part of is the local church. Your nationality, your career and even, for the most part, your family, all pale in comparison to what it means to be an active member of a local church. This, of course, doesn’t make any sense unless what the local church actually stands for is fully understood. The necessity of the local church in the forming of disciples (adherent followers of Christ) can almost not be overstated. The church is our precious Lord’s enduring means for gathering His redeemed people, feeding them with His Word, receiving their worship, nurturing their faith, and bonding them as a supernatural community rooted and established in love (Rom. 12; Eph. 4; Phil. 1:27–2:11). Indeed, the local church is a physical manifestation of Christ’s people, as well as the point where He meets them through the means He has graciously ordained: the ministry of the Word, worship, fellowship, service, and outreach.
These means do not appear spectacular to the world. There is nothing particularly exciting or novel about a ministry of preaching, worship, fellowship and evangelistic outreach to an ordinary man; it seems as the same routine each week! We hear the Scriptures proclaimed, we sing, we pray, we enjoy fellowship, and then we go home. There are no halftime shows, no rock concerts, and no celebrity personalities. It appears plain, ordinary, and even repetitious. But sincerely, it is about as exciting as watching a tree grow. Didn’t Jesus say that the coming of His kingdom is like the growing of a tree (Luke 13:18–19)? A tree doesn’t grow by some grandeur and marvelous events but through the deliberate, steady nourishment of sun and rain year in, year out. The same is true with the kingdom of God as it grows through the means of the local church. More often than not, it does not grow by what the world considers a mark of success: big buildings, big budgets, and big names. Instead, it grows in simple, regular and often small services where the gospel is openly proclaimed. It grows where believers and their children are baptized into grace. It grows where repentant sinners trust in Christ Jesus for eternal salvation. It grows where ordinary members of a congregation love and serve one another. It grows in those long unglamorous meetings of the church elders as they seek to faithfully tend to God’s people. The truth is that the kingdom grows primarily in and through the local church.
We really do not need more movements, more conferences, and more celebrities. We don’t need to hear the gospel as the top story on the major news channel, neither do we need the biggest Hollywood celebrity to lend a voice to the gospel, we do not need an endorsement from the biggest brand. What we truly need are more churches, which are really dedicated to the way followers of Christ have been made since the first Apostles planted the first church in Jerusalem about two thousand years ago. This is the unassuming, unspectacular, ‘ordinary’ ministry of the Word, service, fellowship, worship, and evangelism; where God keeps bringing to life dead sinners to form a living and glorious communion of saints.
By God’s power and grace, the Church is growing and waxing strong although her glory may not fully appear until the end of this age. But until then, the extraordinary is God’s business and our own task is to be faithful to fulfill this ministry Christ has given us, as ordinary as it may seem (Matthew 28:18-20).
Wouldn’t you rather join a local church today?