Why Church? Reach More and Grow Deeper
I recently had occasion to teach on the subject, “Why Church?” The following are some notes from that teaching:
“We live in a time where many people are down on the church. Some like the idea of Jesus, but reject His bride, the church. Yet, the early Church added to their number daily those who were being saved, and they had favor with all the people.
College-age students on Christian campuses are often not a regular part of the church attendance, yet, at William Jessup University, where I serve as the President, 81% of our students report that they are regular church attenders (we are working towards 100%).
So why church?
In some ways, you could summarize our core task within the body is to: Reach More and Grow Deeper
Many churches think of reaching more and growing deeper as being in conflict—you have to choose one or the other—this is a false choice—reaching more and growing deeper are like the right or left wing of the airplane (and I try never to fly on a plane with only one wing)!
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness (Colossians 2:6-7),
Growing Deeper means increasing intimacy with God. It is not about managing the external behaviors of life (though God will bring that to pass); it is about surrendering control of my life to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. The Word of God, prayer, connecting with the Body of Christ, and serving the Kingdom using your spiritual gifts are all part of growing deeper.
Reaching More means sharing the love of Christ and the hope of salvation to all:
“Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him, but the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them,” (Luke 15:1-2).
Jesus gathered a crowd of sinners! Shouldn't the church and Christ followers be comfortable with doing this?
When sinners gather, religious people mutter!
Then Jesus told them this parable. "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent," (Luke 15:3-7).
People matter to God!
Heaven rejoices when lost people are found!
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” (John 15:16a)
God chose us and gave us a responsibility
Bearing fruit is like a coin with two sides. Side #1 is a changed life (personal transformation), and side #2 is the fruit of new believers in Christ
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples," (John 15:8).