The Importance of the Local Church
It is important to attend a church where you grow in God and connect with other people of faith.
Crossroads Founder, David Mainse has always said, “The local church is God’s address on earth!”
Attending a good church in your community will provide you with an opportunity to develop supportive friendships and personal accountability. It will reinforce the transforming work that God is doing in your life. Some believers think that going to church is an optional part of following Jesus, but it's not! In the Book of Hebrews we are warned about this mistake: "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" (Hebrews 10:24,25 NLT).
Being part of a loving church family will help you in your Christian walk by providing needed strength and support during life's difficult moments. If you and I don't connect with God's family, we take the risk of becoming isolated and, when difficulties or temptations come, we may not have the support we need to overcome the circumstances. There will be times when you need special prayer support from other believers and times when others may need this from you. We are not called to stand alone; we are called to be a family – representing Jesus to a world in need of God's love. The way we love and support each other will be a witness to others around us who don't know Jesus yet.
Looking for a Church
Every church has special characteristics of its own. The key is to find a church that is balanced in the teachings of Christ, ministers in the power of the Spirit of truth and reaches beyond its doors to others. Often God fits us with a particular congregation where we can exercise our own unique giftings for the benefit of the Body of Christ. Choosing a local church is important, so here are a few guidelines.
The church that you attend should embrace the following:
- God is the Creator and ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (the Trinity). These three are co-equal and are one God. (Genesis 1:1, Matthew 28:19, 1 Peter 1:2).
- Jesus is the only Son of God (John 3:16-17; Colossians 1:15-17).
- Jesus was born of a virgin, died on the cross and rose again (Matthew 1:26-38, Luke 23:33-46).
- Salvation from sin is through the blood of Jesus Christ alone (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:22).
- The only way to God is through His Son Jesus (John 14: 6; Acts 4:12).
- Salvation is a gift from God, through faith, as a result of grace and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9).
- Heaven and hell are literal (2 Thessalonians 1:5-9; Matthew 25:41).
- The Bible must be the only foundation for all beliefs (Psalm 119:89, Matthew 24:35).
- Overemphasis on any points of doctrine
- Isolation or restriction from others such as family members, friends and or other evangelical churches
- A sense of spiritual elitism and superiority
Join A Christian Small Group
Most churches have Bible study groups. Often, it's in these gatherings that people get to know each other on a deeper level, and over time, supportive friendships begin to form. As well, attending a study group will open up relationships with those who can mentor you in the Christian faith. It's very helpful to have a trustworthy Christian friend or mentor with whom you can share your questions and prayer requests, while learning by their example how to have a meaningful relationship with God.
Take The “Alpha Course”
This free course is a great way to discover more about God and His Word, and also meet other Christians. Participants look at life's "big" questions from the perspective of the Bible, as well as the most important aspects of the Christian faith. To find a local Church offering the Alpha course in Canada or the U.S. contact www.alphacanada.org or 1-800-743-0899.
Scriptures of Promise
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).