With all the spiritual books available on the market, and the torrent of uplifting videos on the Internet, is it still necessary to attend a local church?
What is the Church? When we put a capital letter, we refer to all believers, regardless of their denomination. We say that the Church is the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-27). We should all share the same love for God, be motivated by the same Spirit (Ephesians 4:4) and have the same mission, to spread the message of Christ to all who do not know him.
But the New Testament does not speak of the Church as only a single entity. Several verses refer to local churches. They are small gatherings of Christians in order to build themselves and to provide for the needs of the poorest (Romans 12:13). This is where the apostles and other elders (Acts 14:23) taught the newly baptized and where the missionaries were trained to spread the message of the gospel. This is the place where there they corrected the errors of conduct (James 3:10) or doctrinal errors (1 Timothy 6:3). It was also during these moments that friendships were developed (Acts 2:46), that Christians supported each other in their trials and praised God with passion.
Even today, this is what we find in our local churches. It is in these weekly gatherings (or even several times a week!) that we hear teachings from Christians who edify or correct us. It is also where we develop friendships, where we can help those who are in need and where we can be trained to expand the Kingdom of God. In short, if we want to be disciples like those of Jesus, we should all belong to a local church.
So do not just go to church, but serve and get involved in your church. We all have special talents that God has given us for edification (Ephesians 4:11-13) or the functioning of our churches (1 Corinthians 12:28). It will not always be easy to serve our brothers and sisters, our character will be put to the test, and that’s fine! It is in the tests that we are refined. Yes, we will also be hurt at times, and we will hear messages that are not always in line with the Word of God. No one is perfect in our churches, so everyone has the right to make mistakes. And when errors are hurtful, the Holy Spirit is always there to heal us.
Being involved in a church also allows us to meet other singles who have the same interests as us. We can see them in action and know the state of their souls. “Going to church” will not help us make friends, but “serving the Church” will create strong and healthy connections. We must also avoid wandering from one church to another only to received what we want. We must settle down, for the blessings and the lessons, because a church is a family. When we are single, our commitment to our local church will demonstrate that we are a persevering and hardworking person. We prove that we are spiritually stable and that God can do His work through us. This is an invaluable trait to give to our future partner.
When looking for a partner you will learn that it is wise to look for someone who does not only wear the title of Christian but who really is! For this, you can look at their involvement in their church and what other members of their church have to say about them. If you choose to date a person who does not attend church, you will not be able to build a strong spiritual base for your couple. God cannot be at the center of a relationship if He is not already at the center of each of the partners.