01 Mar To Church or Not to Church – Mar 14
By Ferdinand Haratua
I am a Christian. I am a good person and give regularly to charities. I don’t need to go to church every Sunday, do I?
Before we answer this question, we must first clarify what do we mean by the church? There are many definitions of a church, but in its very essence, the church is the community of true believers of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul says, “Christ loved the church (ekklesia) and gave himself up for her” (Eph 5:25). In its context, the word “church” or “ekklesia”, applies to all those whom Christ died to redeem. And Jesus Christ builds the church by calling His people to himself (Matt 16:18).
Surprisingly, this idea of a church is not a new idea to the New Testament; for God said to Moses, “Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so” (Deut 4:10 ESV).
So, what is a church? The church is where believers, those whom Christ has redeemed, come together in community to worship God and hear His word. And this must happen regularly as the author of Hebrews writes, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb10:24–25).
I attend church regularly. In fact, every Sunday I attend church, I sing, I listen to the sermon and go home. Do I need to really get more involved?
The term “church service” can sometimes be misleading; it gives the impression that people attend church in order to be served, or at least to enjoy some sort of service. This is partly the reason why we hear some people complaining that they do not like this church or that church because the singing is bad, or the sermon is boring, or the children’s ministry is disorganised. Some people have come to expect certain “services” from the church, and when the services offered are not to their liking, they quickly move on.
The church is a place where people come together to serve, just as Christ himself came to serve, not to be served (Mark 10:45).
The early church in the New Testament is a poor church, but the Scripture says that there was not a single person in the church who was in need or lacking (Acts 4:34). How can this be possible? It is simple – the believers come together to serve one another. They come together to fill a need, instead of demanding or even expecting a service.