In the physical realm we have this phrase “bring up short,” which essentially means to have something cause you to stop suddenly. That happened while I scrolled through Instagram messages. It wasn’t a beautiful photograph or inspiring Scripture that caused me to pause, but a reference to being a former church goer. A post about getting use to a new way of life outside a church community.
The author of the post thought it was working out, although it was difficult to get use to a new Sunday morning. The idea seemed to be that each Sunday you determine where to meet with God… perhaps a walk, maybe a coffee house, reading your Bible on a beach, gliding across a lake in a kayak, or maybe it’s a comfortable chair next to the woodstove warmed by a fire.
It wasn’t just the physical motion of my fingers on the phone screen, flipping through posts, that halted. My spirit hesitated as well. Is a church of one a new movement?
Recently I changed the lead Scripture on my website to: Heb 10:24-25 “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” NLT
The church has been a significant place for growth since my spirit came alive in Christ. I am not just referring to a meeting place to worship, study, fellowship, and pray for one another. I am referring to what is known in Scripture as the Body of Christ.
Here are a few benefits of meeting together as the Body of Christ:
Lessons in Unity—In the book of 1 Corinthians the Apostle Paul urges believers to “be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.” This comes by studying God’s word together. The pastor delivers insight on the meaning of Scripture and its application during his teaching. We meet at Bible studies to discuss and learn from one another. Scripture is transformative to our thought processes. As we come to a unified understanding, we come to a unified walk.
A Chance to “Know” Someone-When we study and fellowship together people are more than a name or face. We come to know them. Their fears, their hopes, their struggles, their joy. When ministering, it is helpful to know something about the other person. What might build up one person, acting as motivation or encouragement, may cause another to give up.
We sharpen each other— “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend–” Proverbs 27:17. As we build friendships within the church, working together, our walk and ministries become stronger. A Kid’s Camp, Women’s Retreat, or Men’s Conference becomes better and better as ideas are shared. And when we work together as a team, more is accomplished.
We stir one another up—In my church if the Holy Spirit places a ministry or good work upon someone’s heart, we gather around to provide incentive and motivation so the idea comes to fruition. This includes the pastor. As a result, several ministries thrive that may be described as “grassroots,” or congregation led.
We serve one another—We are interconnected, ready to help in time of need. That may be preparing dinners for a family who has just welcomed a newborn or is overwhelmed with a treatment schedule for an illness. Also, working on a home improvement project, contributing money for rent during a financial crunch, providing transportation to an appointment, bringing food when cupboards are empty, sitting in the waiting room of a hospital during a medical emergency, gathering for prayer.
We were created for relationship. First with God, and then with others. I encourage you to continue to build relationships within the Body of Christ by finding a church in which you can thrive in acts of love and good works. “Especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
1-Do you have a church community? How involved are you within this group? How do you actively participate?
2-What motivates you to acts of love and good works? How do you motivate others?
©2022 Susan Cort Johnson *All Rights Reserved