The life we share together in Christ is not an irrelevant abstraction. Instead, it finds life-enhancing expression in the concrete community of a local church. Sadly, many disciples do their discipleship a disservice by advocating for their place in the “big C” or “universal” church while remaining uncommitted to the shared life of a local church. Either unaware or unappreciative of how sharing life with other sinners saved by grace assists in sanctifying the soul.
Let’s affirm the indispensable value of exploring our shared salvation in the grit and grind of flesh and bone relationships of a local church. Here are some reasons why we should do so. What might you add to the list?
- Life in a local church recognizes that eternal life is a shared life and that Jesus Christ is a shared savior; He died not just to redeem a person but a people.
- Life in a local church is not a loose affiliation with a group of Christians; rather, it involves entering into a community of Christ-followers in which you can know others and be known by others.
- Life in a local church understands that the rub of diverse relationships is a necessary context for growing towards Christ-likeness.
- Life in a local church protests against individualistic and consumeristic approaches to the Christian life.
- Life in a local church makes every Christ-follower a contributor to the church’s mission of making disciples of all nations.
- Life in a local church provides a tangible, relational context for spiritual maturation and accountability.
- Life in a local church values endurance and perseverance while working through interpersonal conflicts and struggles.
- Life in a local church contends that identifying with a church involves no less than but certainly much more than regularly participating in a weekly worship gathering.
- Life in a local church accounts for the role and responsibility of church leadership to feed, lead, and protect Christ-followers with the gospel.
- Life in a local church exalts the power of the gospel that enables us to get over our selves so we can give of ourselves in love to one another.
- Life in a local church encourages Christians to take mutual responsibility for one another’s discipleship.
- Life in a local church makes the gospel visible to the watching world by uniting different people together around their shared faith in Jesus Christ.
- Life in a local church unifies our time, talents, and treasures towards the goal of magnifying the gospel throughout the world.