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You Need a Local Church

October 13, 2010

If I were going to make a list of reasons to live in Pennsylvania (where I live now), October would be at the top of my list. The weather, the apple orchards, and of course, the beautiful changing leaves. Why do the leaves change color? Basically, it is the mix of sun, rain, and temperature. If you were to take the beautiful maple tree in my yard and transplant it to Phoenix, it would not produce the same vibrant beauty it does here in Pennsylvania. Why? Because it’s only getting sun. But isn’t sun important to make the leaves change color? Yes. But it is only part of the process.
Just like trees need sun and rain and the right temperature for change, Christians also need the right “ingredients” for change. God created the perfect environment for our spiritual growth–the church.

Advancements in technology have created an artificial environment for Christian growth.  Love worship music? Download the latest praise album. Want to hear great preaching? Subscribe to podcasts by popular pastors. But these important parts, in isolation, are not enough. When we discussed the birth of the church, we saw what early believers did- “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). There was preaching, there was worship, but there was more. And to get more, we need each other.

Paul David Tripp defines the local church as “an intentionally intrusive, Christ centered, grace-based, redemptive community.” A preacher on a podcast can’t be intrusive in your life. The worship team who recorded an album didn’t specifically have you in mind as part of their audience. For real growth, you need a local church. You need the sanctifying experiences you will only get there.

How has God used the local church in your spiritual growth?

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2010 9:07 am

    Absolutely! The hardest (easiest?) part of this is you can fill your mind/heart with only the pastors/music/teaching that fits what you want. So, if you don’t want to get involved, hear a certain topic, it’s easy to stay away from it!

    Not to mention (for me, the most important!), what about your kids?! They don’t listen to podcasts! They aren’t internalizing the words of worship music. I wrote a post called “Go To Church”, ok if I link to it?

    Great post!

  2. stephanieshott permalink
    October 13, 2010 10:04 am

    Sandra ~ Loved the parallel! It helped me “see” what you were talking about. We definitely need the local church! Not just to drive by a building and admire its beauty, but to plug in and be part of what God is doing there.

  3. Julie Sanders permalink
    October 13, 2010 1:29 pm

    So very true, Sandra, though today’s world can give us the impression that we’re getting what we want from a church. Sadly, it’s incomplete. Being part of a local church has given us accountability that is so vital and only possible when we’re in a Body that is “intentionally intrusive.” Love that~!

  4. October 13, 2010 11:56 pm

    Thanks for such a great post on why we need a local church.
    Love this definition – “an intentionally intrusive, Christ centered, grace-based, redemptive community.” Great way to view the church.


  5. Brandon Gaide permalink
    October 15, 2010 3:07 pm

    “Intrusive” is a great word to describe the local church. It is intrusive to have to care about people who aren’t like me, or to reconcile relationships that might be easier to abandon, or to listen to words that are offensive to my lifestyle. But it is also wonderfully intrusive, butting into my loneliness, darkness, fear, and pain. Thanks for this word!


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