By Jewell Johnson
During a serious illness, I became keenly aware of my need for my church family.
They prayed for me. They sent me cards and e-mails of encouragement, letting me know I was missed. Members of the congregation brought food to our family, relieving me of the task of meal preparation as I recuperated. After two months, I was able to return to church where I was welcomed with hugs and words of encouragement.
While the church’s support played a part in my recovery, there are many more reasons why I need my church. Here are a few.
I learn principles to help me live in a sin-sick world. I’m taught biblical world-view responses toward injustice, crime, and temptations. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correction and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
I may enter God’s house feeling confused, my spiritual acuity dulled from life’s daily challenges. But I can leave with peace. My church is a place of rest where I reflect, regroup, find answers, and gain an eternal perspective.
The psalmist confessed, “When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny” (Psalm 73:16, 17).
I rub shoulders with godly, praying people. The prayers of the saints have an umbrella effect, shielding me from the fallout of an ungodly world system. The prayer support of early Christians made a difference in Peter’s life and resulted in his escape from prison. “Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him” (Acts 12:5).
God has given me gifts and talents he wants me to develop and use. “God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:28).
In the church, I find opportunities to use my gifts in a variety of ways. When I combine my talents with the talents of others, much good is accomplished.
Obedience is the very core of the Christian life. Without it, we won’t advance in our walk with God. Jesus chose to obey even when obedience led to suffering and death, and ultimately, to our salvation. “This is love, that we walk in obedience to his commands” (2 John 1:6).
When a tornado is predicted, people run for shelter. As we approach the return of Christ, calamities and persecutions will happen more frequently. But we will find safety with God’s people in his house. “I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed” (Psalm 57:1).
Neglecting fellowship with other believers is dangerous. Hebrews 10:25 says, “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.”
In the light of that “Day,” I need the encouragement I find in the church. And when I attend, my presence encourages others and helps prepare them for the most glorious day of all—Christ’s return.
Jewell Johnson, a writer, retired registered nurse, and minister’s wife, lives in Arizona.