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If COVID did nothing else, it made every pastor in America into a "TV preacher" overnight. Lol. I know it did for our church. Our online stream was not a major focus for us until it was all we had. It has since been a great benefit for those who travel, those who deal with a lingering illness, and those who have work schedules that do not allow regular attendance.
The problem is it has also given people an excuse to disconnect from the church and... well... become a bit lazy. Who can blame them? Some churches spend millions of dollars a year on their online presence and it shows. These online experiences are amazing and I enjoy them too. However, they cannot replace being part of a local spiritual community.
In the video below, I go deeper into each of the topics listed. Here are three good reasons you should be part of a local church.
1- You need a place to grow.
I have to tell you... it's very hard to grow on an island. You need the support of a local church where you can grow together. You need to be listening to Bible-based preaching every week from a pastor whom you can know personally. That doesn't mean you will go eat every week or that you will enjoy vacations together. It does mean you will see him out in the lobby, you will see how he treats his team, and you will see him when he thinks you're not looking. You learn a lot about someone when you are around them for a while. This is the same with serving with others, worshiping with others, and so much more. You slowly become part of the community and develop relationships. You grow through good times and difficult times. You learn how to be faithful and grow where you have been planted.
This is the difference between watching a family on TV and being a part of one yourself.
2- You need a place to fight.
We live in a culture where people "ghost" one another all the time. This is where people simply leave without a reason. One day they are there and the next they are not. Just like a ghost. A church community helps to fix this. Being part of a church community gives you the ability to fight in two ways.
To fight together. You can stand firm together and fight against injustice and other areas you feel strongly about. You can lock arms and do life together. You don't have to feel alone or unsupported.
To fight with. There is a Bible verse that says we sharpen one another like iron. Have you ever watched someone sharpen iron? It creates heat. It creates noise. It creates sparks. It is uncomfortable. But, out of that experience comes something valuable. We all need people who love us enough to challenge us within the context of healthy relationships. You don't get this if all your relationships are online. We live in a culture of comments, not conversation. Doing life in a community helps us to learn how to grapple with topics and learn to grow together.
3- You need a place to dream.
We can also do more together than we can apart. Many of us are limited in what we can do by abilities, opportunities, or giftings. However, when I put my gifts together with yours, anything becomes possible. I think God did it that way for a reason. This way, one of us will never be as good as all of us.
Make it your goal to find a church where you can grow and do life with others for an extended period. Many times, you don't see the benefit of a spiritual family until 3 years out. Be patient. Just like with your family, the benefits are there. It just takes time to notice.