Continued from here.
Local church involvement – both regular attendance and service to the local church body – are critical fundamental practices. If you are like me and have been hurt by a local church body, that might be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s biblical. Like many of you, have I seen hypocrites in the church. I have seen local church bodies take advantage of people, try to control them, and do all sorts of other ungodly things in the name of God. I’m not advising you to connect with a local church that does not follow God’s ways.
In the United States, we are blessed with religious freedom that many people in other parts of the world only dream about. Don’t waste this freedom! There’s no shortage of local churches to choose from. Pray for wisdom and discernment about which local church body to connect with, and then start visiting churches.
When my husband and I moved in 1999, it took us over a year to find our local church body. We visited many churches, most of which were not a good fit for a variety of reasons. We narrowed it down to three possibilities, but each of the three had something that kept us from feeling like they were “home.” Don’t get me wrong – all three were wonderful church bodies – they just weren’t quite the right fit for us.
I then decided to scout out a church that was a little outside the distance radius that we had set. As soon as I walked in the door, I knew I had “come home.” I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, and it just “felt right.” My husband felt the same way when he joined me the next week. This local church body has been our Church Family for over 15 years now, and we cannot imagine our lives without it! See this blog entry for an example of why.
Note that your only consideration should not be what you can get from a church but also what you can give. God has blessed you with at least one spiritual gift that He intends for you to use to bless your Church family. You cannot do this without plugging into a local church body.
If you are not connected with a local church body, you are missing out! So many blessings await you. Find a local church and plug in. Attend the services, and pray for discernment about the ways God wants you to serve that local church body. Your relationship with God is not just about you. You are an integral part of the Body of Christ.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace praying in front of a stained glass window. Courtesy Bitmoji.]