Why a Pew Is Better Than a Podcast
I’m a podcast girl.
If I’m taking a drive, going for a walk, or working at my desk, I’ve often got my earbuds in, listening to someone chatter. Here’s a peek into my playlist. A few of my favorite podcasts are:
- The Village Church
- The Ron Dunn Podcast
- The Happy Rant
(I want to hear all about your favorite podcasts in a minute.)
I know I’m not the only one ingesting information this way. Nearly fifty million Americans listen to podcasts monthly. Most of those podcast listeners are twelve to thirty-four years old, which means many of you may be fellow podcast girls.
Whether you’re a podcast listener or not, you are probably consuming gobs of information through the web. We live in an era where we all drink from the fire hose of virtual noise all the time. That has a lot of perks.
- We have access to more good information than we’ve ever heard before.
- We can hear great Bible teachers and pastors who live and preach well outside our zip code.
- We get a broader vision for the global Church and see how God is working all over the world.
- We can listen to good Bible teaching anytime, anywhere.
These are unique gifts to followers in this time in history. But none of them are good reasons to pop in your earbuds and skip church on Sunday mornings.
Here are three reasons why a pew is better than a podcast.
1. Worship Is a group experience.
Psalm 102:22 describes how dazzling it is when people gather together to worship. First Corinthians 14:26 describes the beautiful symphony of worship that happens when we each bring our gifts to the altar.
Heaven paints a picture of spectacular worship, but there will be no lone worshipers. The collective voices of every believer from every country in every era will meld together in one seamless song of praise. (I can’t wait!)
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:6–7).
Sure, you can crank up Matthew West and sing your heart out in your room, but you also need to worship beside other Christians often.
2. Communion started in community.
An important practice for all Christians is communion.
Communion happened for the first time in a group.
You can’t confess sin to a podcast or blog post.
Jesus and His friends were gathered in an upper room in the moments before He was arrested. They were eating a meal together, serving one another, and enjoying each other’s company. (That’s what friends do!) It was in that setting that Jesus introduced communion by passing some bread and wine around the table and saying:
“This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. . . . This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:19–20).
Communion began as a meal shared between friends and continues as an act of remembrance between people who share the same faith. You can’t replicate that through a podcast.
3. We all need accountability.
Our sin nature sticks to us like superglue. One of the gifts that God has given us to dissolve sin’s adhesive effect is the church. Only Jesus can forgive sin, but other Christians help us see why we need forgiveness in the first place.
James 5:16 is a verse I repeat often on this blog. Maybe that’s because I need reminded of this truth so often:
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
You can’t confess sin to a podcast or blog post.
While doing research for a recent book, I discovered lots of girls who got entangled in sticky webs of sin. The details varied, but the one thing that was consistent was that they stepped outside of their Christian community first. Once there was no accountability, they sinned and once they sinned they felt like they could never step foot back in community.
Your church is God’s safety net for you. We all need living, breathing people who we can see and touch to watch our lives unfold and have permission to hold us accountable.
While we are on the subject, we all also need spiritual authorities. Your parents and pastor are God’s Plan A for this role. There are lots of pastors I love to listen to, but they do not replace the pastor of my church, who has been a part of my life for twenty years.
The bottom line is that I love the church because Jesus does. He calls her His bride. The podcasts we listen to, blog posts we read, and verses we Instagram are more like bridesmaids. They are meant to stand beside God’s true love.
I’d love to add your favorite podcasts to my list of favorites. Who is talking into your earbuds? I’d also love to hear about your local church. What can you get there that you can never find on the web?
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