What is the benefit of joining a local congregation? Why bother? We know that joining a church does not save us; it was Jesus – not the local church – who died to redeem sinners! Is it not our first priority to become followers of Christ and plead with others to seek him as well? Of course it is! But after we trust in Jesus for our salvation, what next? How do we live out the Christian life? What is the role of other believers in our lives?
So, if you a are not a confessing Christian, you should NOT seek to join a church, but look into what it means to be a Christian. In fact, what we point out below will not make sense to you if you have not already trusted in Christ.
One of the key reasons, not the only or necessarily the primary, to join a church is the edification or the building up of other believers and ourselves. Listen to what Mark Dever has to say in 9 Marks of a Healthy Church:
Joining a church will help counter our wrong individualism and will help us to realize the corporate nature of Christianity. . . . Church membership is our opportunity to grasp hold of each other in responsibility and love. By identifying ourselves with a particular church, we let the pastors and other members of that local church know that we intend to be committed in attendance, giving, prayer, and service. We allow fellow believers to have greater expectations of us in these areas, and we make it known that we are the responsibility of the local church. We assure the church of our commitment to Christ in serving with them, and we call for their commitment to serve and encourage us as well.
God did not call us to a journey of Lone Ranger Christianity, but a life filled with love and responsibility toward others. To go solo is to be selfish! To go solo is be self destructive! To go solo is to walk alone in life when God has ordained his children to walk together.
Mark Dever asks, “What about you? Do you love the people of God? Do you not merely feel well-disposed toward them but actually, actively give to them? Do you use your hands for them? Your money? Your lips?”