Is the local church important, or is it not really that big of a deal? Well, do we realize that the local church is God’s plan A to accomplish God’s redemptive mission on earth—and there is no plan B?
The New Testament, from Acts to Revelation, is about the local church. When we minimize the local church, we minimize God’s working through the body of Christ to rescue and restore our broken world.
Suppose someone believes that the very idea of being committed to a local church is legalistic. How would you respond to that kind of thinking if it were to apply to the family? Suppose the person said: “You don’t have to be committed to your family, that’s too legalistic.” Would you buy into that kind of reasoning?
Suppose you treat the local church like a civic club. You pretty much engage in it when it’s convenient for you. What does that communicate to others, especially children, about God’s community of faith and about Christ who is the head of the church?
Suppose someone says: “The church is not the building, it’s the people, so it’s not important to gather with others in the family of God, the church.” What do you imagine the writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews would think about that? “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 10:25)
Suppose someone says that you don’t really need others to faithfully follow Jesus. How then would the “one another’s” of the Christian faith be lived out? Love one another (Romans 13:8). Serve one another (Galatians 5:13). Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32). Motivate one another (Hebrews 10:24). How would you do these things with one another without one another? How is it possible to treat people like Jesus died for them if you don’t spend time with them?