Church: Do you Attend or Belong?

‭ “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
Romans 12:4-5

The Church was not a human idea. It was conceived in the heart of God.

Mustard Seed Blog

When people ask you, ‘what church do you go to?,’ what is your answer? This might sound a bit pernickety, but there’s a vast difference between going to, and belonging to, church. Let me explain.

Church ‘goers’ are danger of developing a consumerism approach to the church. I often hear statements such as “I left my last church because I just wasn’t being fed,” “My needs were not being met,” “I didn’t like the way things were being run.”
Though these may well be valid points, I wonder did it ever occur to the disgruntled churchgoer to stay, put down roots, roll up their sleeves and be part of the solution?

We don’t go to church, we are the church

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”

Ephesians 1:5

When I became a Christian, I became a part of the Body of Christ. I was born again as a new creation and legally adopted by God into His own family, as Ephesians 1:5 tells us. My biological family name was granted to me automatically when I was born; no one can ever take that away from me. It’s mine by right. Similarly, when I was born again through faith in Jesus Christ, I was given the ‘family name,’ Christian. I am part of the family of God.
We are designed to be connected; to belong. We belong to each other. This means: I share ownership, I have a legitimate place, I share responsibility, I have a role, I share in the corporate vision and common purpose we have as a family, I can let my guard down, I can be vulnerable. I am accepted, valued and significant.

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

Also see 1 Corinthians 12:12

The Ones Who Disconnect
Meeting other Christians for coffee and ‘fellowship’, listening to podcasts of my favourite preacher or playing worship music in my house all day long, when I have disconnected myself from church family, does not demonstrate that I’m still a passionate follower of Jesus. Sadly, all it shows is that I’ve become a lonely, less effective one. Can we be a Christian and not go to church? Yes, technically. But how can we can’t have a proper relationship with Jesus when we’re out of relationship with His beloved bride, the Church?

To live a Christian life alone is counter productive and contrary to everything the Bible teaches us. Proverbs‬ ‭18:1 tells us: “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgement.” ‬ ‭The thing is, people are flawed. I’m flawed. So are you. We frequently make a hash of relationships. But to disconnect myself from church, or to hop from church to church, never building real friendships can be more detrimental to my spiritual wellbeing than connecting to a ‘flawed’ community of believers. The Bible has no teaching on solo Christianity. God has gifted each member of His body to serve one another; to build one another up; to encourage one another; to LOVE one another. Therefore, I don’t think I’m sticking my neck out by saying that it is impossible to be a solo Christian.

That said, I do want to say here, that by ‘flawed’ community, I am not talking about erroneous doctrine. I’m talking about being truthful about our shortcomings in the light of the grace and mercy of God. If you’re in a church that teaches and practices anything contrary to the Word of God, I would say to you, ask God to shine the light of His Word on this, and lead you. (Another reason why it is so important for Christians to read and study the Bible, but that’s for another blog post.)

The New Testament is filled with descriptions of what the followers of Jesus did in the weeks following His resurrection. It gives us a model of how the experience of being part of the church, could and should be: They shared meals together, they were hospitable, they prayed and worshipped together, they learned from their leaders, they didn’t hold too tightly onto possessions, but shared what they had with each other.

Were they perfect? Hardly! The New Testament is not a story of an idealised church where everything ran smoothly all the time. They were no different to you or me; and in many ways life was so much harder for them.

Will I get hurt in church? The short answer is, probably – because people are people. But we are not given the option to go it alone; we are commanded to love one another and the Holy Spirit gives us the tools we need to work through our interpersonal issues, forgive each other and ‘do life’ together: see Galatians 5:22-23

The Church is part of God’s eternal plan

God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 3:10-11

Jesus delights in His Church. His grace runs through our imperfect, but redeemed lives. The church is a community of imperfect people, made righteous and being perfected through Christ. Of course, community can be messy and painful; people sin. Even leaders sin.
Jesus started the church with imperfect people and today it is still filled with imperfect people, like you and me. It’s only because of God’s incredible grace and mercy that He chooses broken human beings like us, to showcase his grace in a world in need of redemption. Every single one of us is a work in progress; imperfect but made righteous in God’s sight.

There is one thing thing I would change about my own church: Me. But thankfully God is the one doing that work!

If you are a Christian and don’t belong to a local church body, I urge you to find one with good, solid Biblical teaching, and put down roots there. If you have lost your sense of belonging, I would implore you to make every effort to reconnect to your church family. You belong!

Jill 💜

13 thoughts on “Church: Do you Attend or Belong?

  1. If you don’t feel like you belong to a church chances are others feel the same way – common ground if more often than not the starting place of relationship and therefore the starting place of that feeling of belonging – great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Truth in Palmyra and commented:
    It’s Saturday night, and if you are one of the millions who will head to God’s house in the morning, here are some great things to ponder on tonight as you prepare your heart and mind. Comments closed here;blessings and enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this.

    I have had many people tell me they have left churches because of some problem they were having.

    Can’t say that is a bad thing in itself, there are many churches that aren’t right for everyone and not everyone fits everywhere.

    But, staying and trying to be part of the solution is excellent advice. Could be God sometimes places people in a church they don’t like so they can make it better.

    Anyway, great post and good for thought.

    PS. I popped over because I saw the post over at my friend Wally Fry’s blog. Good blog you have here, I’ll definately be back.

    God bless,


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you James, i appreciate your kind feedback. And yes, I agree with you that there are some times where someone needs to move on because they and their Church body just don’t fit. I think what I was addressing was more the habitual ‘Church hopping’ mentality, while never truly putting down roots anywhere. Jill 💜


      1. Hey Jill,

        I have known quite a few church hoppers over the years and, if they were honest, I think they would admit that most of the problems they think they have with church really start with them.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a great article. I wish EVERYONE would read it. My husband and I moved to a new area almost 1 1/2 years ago. We had prayed for a church that needed help. We had no idea what that meant or where it would lead us. Two weeks after the move we were told to shelter in place… not knowing anyone it was not hard. That being said we had found a church and had only attended twice before the shut down. Now we are plugged in and I have been reading about how to serve in your local church, looking for new ideas. ( My previous involvement has always been prayer!)

    We were needed to help because in a months time our music minister was called to another church to be the head pastor and our associate pastor was called to another state to plant a new church in a very difficult area… taking another person from our praise and worship team. Praise God for answering the call.

    We are now in a place of how and where to serve (my husband has been involved in serving and is now a deacon and heading the Men’s ministry). My point is that we did not look for another church because it seemed there was termoil but we find that our job is to stay the course. Covid has hit everyone, so helping serve in whatever capacity we can is our priority. Those who say that staying home or church hopping is “okay” is definately not okay! Your point of saying there is no solo Christian is spot on! I have been a Christian for 38 years, my husband, 3 1/2! You do not get to leave because of not being happy; on the contrary, it is a time to reach out and help!

    thank you so much for your pointing out what we ALL need to read and embrace.

    God Bless you!
    Tami De Spain

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s