The Fellowship of the Saints

God’s people are not meant to live in isolation.  It is one thing to draw away by oneself for periods of time.  I believe that we can all use some time alone.  Jesus himself, would go off to be alone and to pray.  It is good to spend some time alone with God.

However, there is a definite need for God’s people to gather together.  We can encourage one another, support one another, give instruction or advice, and simply enjoy the fellowship of the saints.  The best place for this to take place is at the local church.  People can gather together to worship, to pray, to receive instruction from the Word.  It is a good thing.

I say this, not just because I am a pastor, but because I believe it to be true.  Long before I was a pastor, I regularly attended church services.  I expect that I will do so for as long as I am physically able to  get out and about.

I hope that you too, will make church attendance a priority in your life.  It will do you good.

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9 Responses to “The Fellowship of the Saints”

  1. wellwateredgarden Says:

    Part of me says, yeah, you are right, church attendance is a good thing, particularly for those who need a group hug.

    But (there is always a but, isn’t there?) church attendance is not always so helpful for the serious seeker. Church has a tendency to lower standards so that more people can come along and agree and feel ‘at home.’

    Churches (maybe not yours) often have very real divisive factions to them … music, preaching, cliquiness, etc. Many congregations now, when they meet Sunday morning, have not much more than a glorified youth group meeting, where the music consists of the latest cd release and anyone over 25 is ignored and seniors particularly are attended to only when they die.

    Church leadership often have a very un-Christian game plan to attract young people to their services (shades of the Purpose driven Church) and so fill their expanding auditoriums.

    I know I sound critical of the whole thing but I’ve seen it rise and fall depending on the charisma of the theologically trained paid preacher.

    After sixty nine years in the church I find small (home and elsewhere) groups the most effective for people wishing to encourage and minister to one another and beyond the group.

    The way I see it, anyway …

  2. Suzanne Says:

    It’s true. I looked at my attendance this year and I’ve had to miss about half of the time. It could not be helped, but it has not been good for me from any angle. I am looking forward to being in church tomorrow, for worship, prayer, learning and fellowship.

  3. Pastor Curt Says:

    wellwateredgarden,

    Churches are a curious combination of the human and the divine. The human part can be a problem sometimes 🙂 I believe that it is very important to find a church that we can be a part of, to both give and receive support. That is true for all, even the “serious seeker”. If it is a large church, I agree that involvement in some form of small group is essential for an individual to feel connected.

    Suzanne,

    Church attendance is one way that we can keep track of our spiritual health.

  4. Gloria Says:

    God is present in a special way when 2 or 3 gather together. The word says that God inhabits the praises of His people. Church is filled with people from all walks of Chrisitianity.
    It saddens me to read well watered response. Yet I know that it is a true reflection of some churches. What must Jesus think?
    I am grateful that we have a wide age group – from a baby to a 96 year old. Last Wednesday one of my teen girls commented that she feels she is able to walk into any age group of people and be comfortable and this she feels is due to the fact that church has made that a natural thing for her.

  5. Pastor Curt Says:

    Gloria,

    The local church should be our spiritual family. I too, was saddened by wellwateredgarden’s response. Churches are meant to offer love, hope, guidance, and support. It doesn’t always work the way that it should work. I was glad to hear your testimony of the teen from the church. That is more like it is supposed to be.

  6. wellwateredgarden Says:

    ‘Church attendance is one way that we can keep track of our spiritual health’ and ‘The local church should be our spiritual family.’

    Spiritual growth occurs when an individual seeks after God and God, in grace blesses that relationship. If there were no individual believers there would be no church. God does not have a communal salvation plan. First there were believers, then they became the church. Religious people think the exact opposite, ‘there is a church so there are believers.’

    Can good things happen in a group setting? Of course! God can work in all kinds of sincere situations. Of course! The problem lies in the church concept of self preservation and self perpetuation.

    Most larger congregations, when they meet Sunday morning, engage in one large youth group meeting. The music consists of the latest (mostly unsingable) copywrighted ‘worship’ releases, the preaching consists of messages that are either self-help or self-explanatory Bible passages, and the collection is largely contributed by the seniors. Anyone over forty is pretty much ignored.

    The church does not ‘go (GO!) and make disciples’ it expects the ‘world’ to come to it when it is most convenient for it. The church has created the notion that if I attend church God is really pleased with me.

    The church is a great social institution, but not THAT great or the world would be flocking to it. It is sometimes good for a group hug if that is your need. Christianity as we know it in the Western World is in serious decline and atheism is on the increase. How can that be?

    You want to grow spiritually? You want to love God and love your neighbor? Then chase after God in your private ‘prayer closet’ and see what happens (Matthew 7:12). Then when God has blessed you with a ‘calling’ you will be equipped to attend some (any) gathering and be a blessing to others. But mostly you will be ‘in the world’ though not of it, being a blessing to the unsaved, those whom God is calling out of darkness into His light, and you will be the vessel. There is no greater calling!

    Jesus only ever called one public prayer meeting, and then He didn’t attend that one. -Matthew 26:36-45

    Yes, I’m negative on the church because the church today has fallen into the same trap that the church of Jesus’ day had fallen to. It has become a self-centered institution of organized religion and has become pretty much powerless to save and bless the world as result.

    This is a big subject but I really believe the ‘church’ needs to examine itself to see whether it is actually of God or simply following it’s own feel good agenda.

    The way I see it, anyway …

  7. Pastor Curt Says:

    wellwateredgarden,

    I would have to guess that you have had some church experiences that have been less than satifactory. I am sorry for that. My own experience of church has been much different. Your criticisms are accurate; of some churches…not all. There are many churches that are filled with people who simply love God and are trying to love each other.

    Church attendance is no substitute for personal devotions. However, church attendance can suppliment our private times of study and prayer. It is not either/or it is both/and.

  8. tjalexander Says:

    I’ve been to those big churches where it seems they are putting on more of a show then preaching the gospel. Your not noticed or welcomed. People come to sit and watch what they are going to do.
    This is not true to the church I attend now. It is a family. It is bible based. It is to glorify the Lord and not man.
    There are some churches that are for show, then there are the rest that are for Jesus.
    If you go to one that is for show, and it makes your spirit uneasy don’t go back. Find one where your spirit says aaaaahhhh this is where I belong. Then you are set to have a positive church experience.

  9. Pastor Curt Says:

    TJ, Thanks for the comment. It is important to find a good Bible believing church where you can feel like you are a part of the family of God. You may have to check out a few that don’t work, before you find one that fits.

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