What Good Is the Church?

It depends. I want to give you a pros and cons look at this subject.

It is obvious by the dwindling number of church attendees that the institutionalized church is not effective in many ways. I was a part of the political machine for many years. My observations were disturbing. I was disturbed by the level of fake, the politics, and tradition-worship that went on in many churches. Please let me be clear that I met some great people in institutionalized churches who did not fit this bill. So much of this happens because people have a traditional rather than biblical understanding of “the church”.

When Jesus mentioned “the church” for the first time, it was a radical concept. He was not talking about a place of teaching, a place of worship, nor a place to experience God’s presence. The word “church” in the original Greek means “called out ones”. Jesus says, “I will build My church (army of believers who are called out of sin into His marvelous light), and the gates of hell shall not prevail against these people” (my paraphrase). 

This was set in motion in Acts 2. Verses 41-47 show these early believers living in real community. It wasn’t a production nor a well-orchestrated performance. They shared their possessions, they obeyed God, they studied His Word, and ate together on a regular basis. No steeple. No stained glass. Just real people loving a real Savior.

The writer of Hebrews later reminds these Jewish Christians why they need to get together: to encourage one another toward love and good works (10:24, 25). When you “go to church”, do you see this biblical activity going on? Or is it a mechanical process of singing, preaching, and programs?

I see a generation (mainly those in their 20s and 30s) who are longing for a real encounter with God. They do not care about business meetings and voting on things. They are not interested in denominational programs like previous generations, AND THAT’S OKAY! 

What good is the church? Once again, it depends. If it is nothing more than a religious country Club, I will be so bold as to say it’s not pleasing God. He isn’t impressed with the facade. When He sees His people doing things His way, then we can say based on the authority of Scripture that this group of believers pleases Him.

If you are a part of a group of believers that is healthy and biblical, thank God and fulfill your role there! If not, find a group of believers that is striving to be what God wants and make yourself at home.

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