Recently I said this on Twitter:
Can a person REALLY be growing in their faith & NOT be involved in a faith community? I think not.
As you might imagine, it stirred some people up.
As you can also imagine, the ones it stirred up were the ones not involved in a faith community (a general term that I used to point to church, small group, Sunday School, etc.)
I would love to hear from you, but before that, I’ll throw my thoughts into the ring.
Can a person grow in their faith and not be involved in a faith community?
2. 9 times out of 10, in my opinion, the statement, “I don’t need to go to church” is used as an excuse. The people who say this aren’t growing, and don’t have much intention to grow. Church would bring conviction and accountability…two things that they don’t have, and don’t truly desire.
3. For those who fall into the 1 out of 10 who aren‘t using, “I don’t need to go to church” as an excuse, I would say that the Church needs you as much as you need the church. We need your encouragement, love, accountability (doctrinal as well as moral/practical), wisdom, love, care, support, admonition, rebuke, teaching, and leadership. And you need us for the same reasons.
4. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25) Going to church brings us into close contact with the Church. Hearing others worship, praying with others, hearing Scripture preached, and building relationships with others in the Church all help to grow our faith, and are, in my opinion, vital to your relationship with Christ.
5. We are prone to forget. We need others to remind us, and spur us on in this walk of faith. We get wrapped up in the trivialities of life, and get bogged down with details. Others help remind us of the power of the resurrection. The brevity of life. The life-transforming power of grace. The healing nature of forgiveness. Without the Church, we quickly lose sight of all of that. I can read about these things in a book…but seeing them lived out in the guy sitting two pews over is different altogether.
6. UPADATE – After a comment I received via Facebook, I’ve decided to make an addition to this post. I’d like to make concessions for folks who are not able to travel, due to health or other reasons. Those people should not feel an ounce of guilt for not traveling to gather with other believers. That said, though, I truly believe that they need to gather with others, so the Church’s responsibility would be to go to them.
What do you think? Do you believe that it’s possible to grow in your faith without “meeting together?”