Format: Trade Paperback
Religion - Christian Life
The simple answer might be that if it mattered enough for Christ to die for, then it should matter more to each of us. Yes, we are the church as individuals but we are created as living stones intended to be fashioned together one with another of those of precious like minded faith. As a pastor, this is an on-going question oft posed and answered in a variety of ways. I sat under a pastor who liked to say that "You don't always have to be at church just because the doors are open." That's true and it certainly does not make a person a Christian to attend so religiously, but I noted how easy it was for some people to wiggle off the hook and fall out of the habit of consistently coming. We are facing a battle today of commitment in modern America; it's too easy to not go to church because of a million reasons. And besides, I can watch twenty different services on TV, internet, etc.
Read chapter one here: http://multnomahemails.com/wbmlt/pdf/WhyChurchMattersTPSneakPeek.pdf
Joshua Harris tries to thoughtfully answer this question to a post-modern world that has simply began to fall away from church. In a book originally written in 2004 and titled Stop Dating the Church, now recently updated, Harris outlines strong (and much needed) arguments and reasoning why it is so crucial in our lives and why church still matters.
This is likely an on-going discussion that could fill several tomes but Harris boils down significant issues into seven short and readable chapters (I read the book in two easy sittings). The updated version also includes a study guide with discussion questions that can easily be incorporated into a small group study or discussion.
Some of the reasons Harris gives and details more fully include: what we miss when we do not commit to church, how Jesus died for and still calls the church His bride, why we need local church, and recapturing Sunday for the Holy Day it is intended to be. Another chapter, and one that I appreciated the most, gave ten reasons (not suggesting there were not more) to consider when choosing a church to attend. It's easy to say platitudes (truths, but I've met many who don't really walk the truth out) such as "let the Spirit lead you" and "just pray about it" in regards to making a decision where to attend church. Harris breaks down and explains ten important considerations that should factor into the decision, and not a one of them includes preferences that are so often what drives our choices.
We choose a church because we are led there and feel a part of the body, but also because it teaches sound doctrine and the inerrant Word of God. We choose a church because the gospel is paramount and the church desires to see others come into the Kingdom of God, both locally and globally. We don't choose a church just because we like the music style, or because the pastor tells funny anecdotes in his messages. Those might appeal to us and they might be nice, but they are not crucial issues.
I agree with the majority of Harris' points in this easy read. He does state that the sermon is the high point and key to any church meeting, and I would slightly disagree. Not in an effort to bring down any sermon, but rather to elevate the other elements of our gathering. God is not able to speak to us just through a message, whether it be prepared or extemporaneous. God speaks to us through a good worship service, be that including hymns, choruses, contemporary and modern songs or older songs. God speaks to us through sacraments such as Communion and baptisms. And God speaks to us through fellowship and breaking of bread together with other saints. I understand the spirit of Harris' statement, but to leave out the reality of how God is earnestly efforting to speak to us in every aspect of our church meetings is a tragic statement. Not to mention how he desires to speak to us in our prayer lives, be they closets at home or gatherings at the church house.
This is a great and simple book that will likely encourage what you already believe or challenge what has potentially become dormant in your life. Why does Church matter? Because YOU matter, and because it matters to God. Remember that quote from a pastor I sat under that I mentioned earlier? I have revised it and I tell people now, "You don't have to be here every time the doors are open, but I believe you should want to!" That's how we should view our church and our precious gatherings. I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Juvenile Fiction - Religious - Christian - Fantasy
Fiction - Christian - General