January 16, 2020
Paul Nichols with Minda Nichols
If you don't believe in Church, or in Jesus, or if you're not sure, then the answer to this question, "Why Church?" for you, might be as simple as this. We invite you to come into a safe space where we sincerely hope that you will feel welcome, experience community, hear a message about love and purpose, and experience a Divine presence.
If you believe in Jesus and want to follow Him, but you're not interested in Church, or convinced of the need for local church, then the answer to this question, "Why Church?" for you, will hopefully be answered in the rest of this post.
When I was 18 years old I had a life-changing experience of coming to faith in Jesus. However, for the following year I did not know others who had had this same experience. I was struggling to grow spiritually, and felt desperate for strength and encouragement in living out my newfound convictions. The following year my dorm neighbor invited me to come to his church group. I did. Being knit into that church community catapulted me into spiritual growth and discovery of purpose.
If you intend on following Jesus, it's hard to do that effectively apart from the Church. Here's why. The Church was Jesus' idea. He started it and He intended that it be the way His followers walk out their journey with Him. The Church is not perfect, and abuses are not excused, but we don't believe that we should "throw out the baby with the bath water" and surely Jesus feels the same. He said that the Church is His Body on the earth. Yes, we individually relate to Jesus, but we experience His fullness through one another, who are His Church.
But the Church seen in scripture is not only a group of Jesus-loving friends hanging out. Scriptural record displayed church as a local family, filled with people of all different sorts (not just the ones I like or choose). It has local leaders who are accountable, whose character have been proven over time and are commissioned by outside entities. (Acts 2:44-47; 4:32-33; Titus 1:5-11)
Jesus didn't intend that we be exclusive as the Church or that we avoid the non-believing world. No, in fact, He modeled the opposite. He was called the "friend of sinners" for a reason. And yet, He did live his life with His disciples. The men and women following Jesus were a community. Today, we still are. We share a love for Jesus and the mission He left us with, which binds us as one, while we are always welcoming towards and engaging with others.
Doing church not as an island to myself, but as part of a community brings me to a greater level of authenticity in my faith, helping me to avoid hypocrisy. I can't hide. And as much as all of us want to hide sometimes, is that really what will bring the thriving spiritual growth that we each long for? Church community may sometimes be inconvenient - and even uncomfortable - but just as our professional growth and physical fitness happen best in group settings with trainers and coaches, so too the Church provides the community where our spiritual development is optimal.
Jesus was a teacher, and He commissioned His Church to carry on His teaching. Teaching is an important part of how we grow spiritually. Sure, we can hear teaching online, on social media, on podcasts, on tv, in books, today the list goes on and on. But, talking about, walking out and living out teaching together brings it to a whole other level of reality and application in our lives. This is intended to happen within the community of the local church.
Yes, we can definitely worship privately. Also, worship isn't just something that happens AT church. But worshipping Jesus - loving Him - is also expressed by loving His Church, which is His Body.
God designed that we each be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We're wired to live for a cause. And yet, so many still struggle to find purpose. The Church is Jesus' vehicle on the earth through which He fulfills His purpose. It is only as we connect to the Church in a meaningful, ongoing way that we take our part in His mission.
To learn more about Border City Church, our vision and our partnerships globally, visit our About Us page. There you can also hear what some of the beautiful folks within our community have to say.