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Three reasons why you need a church family

 

 

3 Reasons why you need a church family. Why church isn't about perfect people and how you can benefit from fellowship among Christians.

 

 

I sat down in church last Sunday and glanced across the aisles, my eyes skimming people I’ve known for years.  Our kids grew up together.  Some taught in Sunday School.  Others helped with Vacation Bible School.  A few taught in our Christian school. 

I’m sure they called down more than one of my children for misbehavior during class.

 

So many ministries down through the years. 

 

My mind’s eye flooded with memories.  Church picnics, small group meetings in homes, dinners in the fellowship hall. 

I’ve prayed with these people over their children, their aging parents, their families.  We’ve shared burdens, lifting up one another.  So many heartaches, so many answered prayers.

 

“Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  (Hebrews 10:25)    

 

My church isn’t perfect.  I’ve attended there 20 years, and during that time, I’ve never met a single perfect person.

But that’s what church is about. 

 

Church is full of imperfect, sanctified souls.

My station is usually at the piano, but this morning, I enjoyed a day off to worship and reflect.

 

     3 Reasons why you need a church family. Why church isn't about perfect people and how you can benefit from fellowship among Christians.

 

“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”  Colossians 3:16

 

I can’t sing a single song all the way through without tears springing up, my voice breaking.  I do more good playing the piano than I do singing (I feel sorry for the people in front of me).

Do you know why that is?

It’s because of two monumental occasions in my life.

 

About 6 years ago, our worship pastor passed away unexpectedly.  He was only a few years older than me. The music team and I had served alongside him for years. 

He died on a Saturday.

We falteringly gathered the next morning to worship, our church body broken and hurting. 

I sat at the piano, aware of sniffling and soft crying rippling throughout the sanctuary.  The pastor attempted a prayer, and oh, how he grieved.

It took a long time to regroup from that loss. 

Today, a bench sits out front with his name engraved on it.  We picked ourselves back up and moved on, but oh, how we miss Paul. 

We will always miss Paul.

 

3 Reasons why you need a church family. Why church isn't about perfect people and how you can benefit from fellowship among Christians.

 

Ever since that day, I’ve been unable to lift up my praise without tears. 

Tears of sadness, and yet – tears of joy, for I know where Paul is.  And we’ll be there too someday – in our perfect church.

In heaven.

 

“That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:27)

 

The other reason I cannot sing without blubbering is due to the fact that during that same time period, I experienced an inner turmoil of doubt within my heart. 

The conflict rose from deep inside, for I still performed all my outer church duties, no one ever suspecting my internal darkness.

Until the time of Paul’s death.

I came face to face with my sin, repented of my struggle, and experienced a fresh sense of commitment. And slowly, I emerged from the deep abyss, my soul reawakening, renewed, refreshed.

And I am so thankful.

 

So thankful for grace.

For forgiveness.

For victory.

 

For a second chance to serve God.

I cannot sing of God’s grace without tears, and you know what?  I’m glad I can’t. 

I don’t ever want to take advantage of God’s grace again.  But only through accountability to this body of Christ will I accomplish this goal.

This body of Christ, these sisters and brothers –

     they are my family. 

 

“Love one another with brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:10-11)

 

I am thankful for:

Farmer John, the elderly gentleman who lost his wife and stood on the brink of death himself two years ago. He just remarried and took his bride to the beach, and looks as shiny as a new penny! 

 

The two brave little brothers, who just this morning stood up front holding hands, leading the whole church in a stanza of “Jesus loves me”.

 

The family who, through the tragic loss of their son due to drug addiction, founded a safe house. Through this ministry, many lives have been changed and shaken free from the vices of this horrible monster.  These men have in turn minister to our church, and we are beyond blessed.  Sometimes I’m not sure who the bigger beneficiary is.

 

My 8th-grade teacher, Mr. Hildebrand – now 87 years old, armed with an artillery of “amens” and raised hands, praising God for His faithfulness.  He was saved years ago out of a life of total deprivation and since then, he’s never forgotten what he was saved from, never ceased to praise his Savior. 

 

My own parents, a former pastor and faithful wife, who never give up on God, and never cease to encourage others with their presence and words of encouragement, even though their health is drastically altered.

 

3 Reasons why you need a church family. Why church isn't about perfect people and how you can benefit from fellowship among Christians.

 

You need a church family, and here’s why:

1.  To encourage and uplift one another.

Life is hard enough to do on your own.  You need brothers and sisters in Christ who will pray for you and they need you to pray for and uplift them.

 

2.  To be accountable to one another.

It is because others prayed and came alongside me that I was able to return to a strong faith in God.  We encourage each other to stay on the right path.

 

3.  To be Shepherded by a pastor who teaches the Word, and to learn from him and other wise servants in the church. 

This enhances growth in the Christian life.

 

We sang my favorite song this morning (of course I got choked up halfway through). 

It’s called, “Grace Unmeasured”, and I leave you with the video to reflect on the blessings you have in your church and the riches of grace available in Christ.  

 

Do you have a home church to attend?  If not, what is holding you back?

 

 

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Christi
    August 26, 2015 at 7:19 am

    Well, there’s another thing we have in common. I can’t make it through a worship service without crying either. Such a beautiful tribute to the church you call home!

    • Reply
      Ruthie
      August 26, 2015 at 10:55 am

      We certainly have our own set of problems at my church, but then, we are just a bunch of saved sinners where grace abounds. Interesting that you share the same affliction as me. I didn’t have to play piano this past Sunday so I tried the singing thing again. Same song, 100th verse, a little bit weaker and a whole lot worse. 😉

  • Reply
    itsalwaysdarkestb4dawnmelanie
    October 7, 2016 at 1:41 am

    I haven’t been to church since 2013….with the exception of going to church with my daughter when visiting her. (She lives in California we live in Washington)., God deserted me. He allowed horrible stuff in my life. I know all the verses and promises. But nothing seems real anymore i went to church since I was 2 weeks old. The last church we went to for 23 years. It’s not a big church and we knew everyone. We just stopped and no one in that church ever called. 2 months later our house burnt down and still no one ever called. I’m 62 and I’m just tired.

    • Reply
      Ruthie
      October 7, 2016 at 2:07 pm

      I’m so sorry for your experience, thank you for sharing your pain. That sounds very hurtful – it’s tough when people let us down. Jesus said that we would suffer in this world, and some do seem to suffer more than others, although I believe everyone’s going through something. I don’t know why God chooses to allow suffering, I can’t wrap my mind around it. But I also believe that He is the giver of good gifts and anything we receive (life, health, family, smiles, food, spiritual blessings, etc) comes from Him. As you know, Job said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him”. So the question is, will we choose to believe the Scriptures that say God is infinitely good and wise and accept His rich peace that passes all understanding? We each have a choice, and I know you’re tired of hurting. Jesus says that His burden is lighter than ours, if we accept it. I believe that we can find peace and comfort in His Word and through prayer, because I have, even in my darkest times. I’ve not gone through the same things as you, but I’ve lost close friends and loved ones through death and been through a messy church split and life is just hard. I will pray for you to find peace and God again. I’m so sorry that the church has let you down. It’s often very difficult to get over that pain – I believe that is exactly what the Enemy wants. Praying for you, friend.

  • Reply
    Wendy
    October 7, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Thank you for the positive, encouraging thoughts, helpful in discouraging times.

    • Reply
      Ruthie
      October 7, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, Wendy. They are discouraging times, but God will more than make up for it in the next life!

  • Reply
    Janet Senatore
    October 9, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    A few years ago I would have agreed with this article, until my deacon husband left me after the death of our young daughter. With him leaving the money left…..I was hired a a secretary at the church, and got remarried to the younger brother of an upstanding member, but when he got a DUI, they fired me, even though I’d done nothing wrong. All the Baptist churches in this town band together and even though we tried another few, it was always the same thing. Never again. We still love the Lord, but he still struggles with alcohol even attending AA. Forget church.

    • Reply
      Ruthie
      October 15, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      Janet, you have surely been through the trials. I’m so very sorry for the pain you’ve endured. It sounds like you are still really hurting as well as dealing with your own pain in marriage. I’ll be praying for you to find comfort and answers in the Lord.

  • Reply
    Jennifer Bly
    October 10, 2016 at 9:31 am

    I discovered my church exactly five years ago. It’s a huge church. I love the messages, I love the honesty, I love how my church is on a mission to reach out to others… but I was lacking community. I guess that’s the problem with a “big” church. This past summer, I prayed that the Lord would provide community. When you ask… you receive! Within a couple of weeks, I was approached to start serving in the 3/4 class. I, myself, approached a woman who’s face popped into my head and asked her out to coffee. Apparently, God showed me THE person to connect with. Her and I are growing a new friendship, I joining her ladies’ small group Bible study AND I attend her bi-weekly mid-sized community events/gatherings! My church went from a church of 1200 to feeling like it’s a church of 12. I now know so many people and I can’t believe it took me so long to get into community.

    So I guess what I’m saying is, church is critical but more important is that community. So if someone’s in a large church (like I was) look for small group opportunities in the church as well. It will make such a difference to the connections formed.

    Also, Ruthie… I cry all the time during worship too. It’s when I feel closest to God — bring on the tears.

    Thanks for sharing.
    xoxo

    • Reply
      Ruthie
      October 15, 2016 at 12:57 pm

      Jennifer, I love hearing how your growing and blossoming in this area! I do think it’s hard to find community in a big church, but God will definitely meet that need when we make it a matter of prayer and seek to be involved – as you did. I’m so excited for your ministry and the groups in which you’ve become involved!

      And yes – the worship and the tears and the touching of the soul. God is in that, I know. Thank you for reading, sweet friend!

  • Reply
    dawnklinge
    October 10, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Reading this was a needed nudge. My family and I were a part of Mars Hill church for many years. Our pastor left and then the church shut down. It was heartbreaking. Even though it was a large church, we definitely had community there because we were always a part of small groups and we volunteered all over the place. Now we’re at another large church, but we don’t have community because we haven’t got involved with anything other than Sunday worship. It’s hard putting myself out there again after a big loss, but I know I need to do it.

    • Reply
      Ruthie
      October 15, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      I hear you, girl. It’s easy to know what to do – hard to put it in action. We all have church hurts from the past, but church community help to get us through that. I pray you’ll be able to get plugged in again soon!

      Good to hear from you, friend! xoxo

  • Reply
    Dianne Thornton
    October 11, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Sweet, Ruthie … church family is the best. I’m blessed to have been part of several, precious communities. One of my favorite things is the relationship my kids have with adults who pour into their lives. They love on them, they lead them, they pray for them … and my kids love them back … I wouldn’t trade that for anything!

    • Reply
      Ruthie
      October 15, 2016 at 1:02 pm

      I agree with you about the influence of other adults on our kids. They were the extra love and support mine needed, especially during the teen years. Mentors who just naturally take a part in our children’s lives and give unselfishly. It’s the best. 🙂

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