While I was a student at the Cincinnati Christian University, I was offered the opportunity to preach at a small church in Kentucky. (This still amazes me. I was 18, beginning my sophomore year, and very inexperienced.) I would go on Friday night, spend the weekend there visiting people and preaching/teaching on Sunday, and return on Sunday night. It was great experience for me – probably not so great for the folks of the Claysville Christian Church.
The first time I heard it was at Claysville Christian Church. I was visiting in the home of a farmer in the community. It was a very cordial visit, and I invited him to attend our worship services. “Preacher,” he replied, “I can be just as good a Christian as anyone in the church right here in this living room in my easy chair.” Since that day, I have lost track of how many times I have heard that statement in its various forms. A lot of people believe they can be an effective follower of Christ while not participating in the fellowship of the local church.
Here’s the problem with that: We were made to fellowship. We were hard-wired by our Creator to be in fellowship with others. In fellowship, there is strength, encouragement, accountability, and great joy. I’m willing to concede that the farmer and the others who have followed him in making that argument are much stronger than I am, but I need to be in fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
To me, absenting oneself from the fellowship of the local church is like saying, “I want to play football, but I have no interest in being on a team.” Or, “I want to be in the army, but I am not going to serve in a platoon.” It is like saying, “I want to be a bee, but I want no part of the beehive.” Or, “I want to play an instrument, but I would rather not be part of the band.” Something is really missing when we take that position.
Here is another thing I am hearing a lot of people say these days as we have lived through the Covid reality: “I really have missed being together in church.” We are so overjoyed that increasing numbers of our brothers and sisters are returning to in person worship and participating in fellowship with others.
If you are still feeling restrained by the pandemic, we understand. We are praying that you will soon feel comfortable in being part of assembled worship. Hope to see you soon.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching,
and to the fellowship, to the breaking of
bread and to prayer.”