If I had the opportunity to plead with you to make one resolution this new year, it would be that if you’re not already in a healthy church, find one and commit to it. I can’t think of a life change that offers more significant and more lasting benefits. So let me plead with you by highlighting seven benefits of committing to a healthy church:
- Regularly hear the gospel. God’s grace to us in Jesus is not only the source of our salvation, it is the foundation of our continuing identity, worth, comfort, and hope. We naturally look elsewhere for identity and hope, and need gospel reminders at least weekly.
- Gain great confidence in the genuineness of your faith. True faith bears fruit. And one of the reasons God commands us to commit to a local church is so that others can bear witness to the fruit of true faith in our lives, thus giving us greater assurance that we belong to God.
- Have a community committed to loving you. In a healthy church, people serve, love, forgive, encourage, speak truth to, and endure with one another. And they do this not for selfish gain, but because they have been loved to the utmost by their God and Savior.
- Have your beliefs conformed to God’s truth. There are countless sources of truth and authority in our world. Most of us want to think of ourselves as the ultimate determiner of truth and authority. In a healthy church, God’s word plays a central role and regularly conforms our subjective and fickle thinking and feelings to God’s objective and eternal standard.
- Have pastors who are committed to your spiritual health. I realize that many people today believe that their spiritual health is the concern of only one person: themselves. The truth is that God designed our health and growth to occur in local communities of believers led by qualified pastor/elders who “shepherd” their flocks with joy (1 Peter 5:1-5).
- Witness the diversity of God’s people. Healthy churches are usually diverse churches because they are unified around the centrality of the gospel. Thus, they are comprised of people from various age groups, socio-economic levels, backgrounds, etc., as well as at various levels of Christian maturity. This is a beautiful thing to see and be a part of, and witnesses to the power of the gospel.
- Guard the witness of the gospel in the world. The greatest witness for the gospel is Christians being Christians. And Christians live as Christians, in large part, by committing themselves to a local community of believers, i.e. a church.
So what are you waiting for? Find a healthy church in your community and commit to it!