Posted by Chris Mason on 2nd December 2013
This evening I'm musing about the beautiful community of believers God has blessed me to be a part of and lead. I was recently reading a blog by a guy called David Roach and was struck by his honesty but also the truth i found in his words about the importance of the gathered church. Here's what he said:
"I missed church for five weeks in a row recently because of circumstances surrounding the birth of my second child. We have a healthy baby girl now, and all is well. And I wish I didn’t have to miss so much church. However, God used that season of being away to remind me how valuable it is to gather with the body of Christ weekly. Consider the following:
–Preaching complements personal Bible study in the life of a believer. During my absence, I routinely read the Bible and prayed, and to great profit. Yet on my first Sunday back, the pastor addressed a subject that God had also been addressing with me personally. The conjunction of private devotions and public proclamation was powerful. And I’m not alone in that experience. Many times people marveled that a sermon touches on a subject they were already considering—whether harboring unkind thoughts, disrespecting parents, or dealing with an unbelieving spouse. In His providence, God has a way of orchestrating preaching and private devotionals to work together. When you’re not attending church, you can’t experience that.
–In a local church, members demonstrate a special type of kindness to one another. People show kindness in other arenas of life too. And many times they do it with explicitly Christian motives. Still, family members, coworkers, and even strangers often do nice things for us without intending it as an expression of Christ’s love. When God’s people in a church care for one another, on the other hand, they generally do it with an explicit intention to show Christ-like compassion. That was evident to me when members of our Sunday School class showed up at our house to provide meals following the birth of our daughter. When you’re not part of a church, you miss out on giving and receiving that type of love.
–Singing corporately with other believers nurtures the Christian’s soul. At times I sing to myself, and at times I listen to Christian music. Both help my soul. But there’s something about singing God’s praises with a roomful of other Christians that can’t be replicated through private enjoyment of music. It’s a powerful reminder that we’re not alone in our quest to honor the Lord.
If poor health, an unavoidable work schedule, or other providential hindrances have kept you away from church for a season, this isn’t intended to make you feel false guilt. When God makes it impossible for His children to attend corporate worship, He provides for the health of their souls in other ways. But if you have simply strayed from church, think about all you’re missing. As the writer of Hebrews says, do not forsake “our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encourage[e] one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25 NASB). Hopefully you won’t have to be away as long as I was to realize the joys God has for you among His gathered saints."
A fascinating insight into just a couple of the elements of a gathered christian community.
We're super passionate about building God's church here in West Leeds and East Bradford, about building a community that is deeply rooted in God and serving the world. Why? Because where else can you be yourself, find acceptance, grace, forgiveness, mess up and still be loved and walk with people from different backgrounds to your own toward a God who cares so deeply?
Will you join us?
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