“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another…” – Hebrews 10:25
I love the local church! It has been very significant in my life since childhood. My parents saw to it that our whole family went to church every time the doors were open. Due to that foundation, I received the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour while I was a teenager. After that, church became even more the centre of my life. It is where I gained the knowledge of saving and sanctifying truth, where I can exercise my spiritual gifts and have my service for Christ enhanced by all of the other members of the body. I met my wife in church. We raised our children, and have made lifelong friends and partners, in the ministry in our local church. Yes, I love the local church, and, frankly, I have a hard time understanding those who don’t feel as I do. I just can’t understand Christians who want a brief service once a week just to feel they’ve done their duty and seem eager to get away from the church as soon as it is over.
When we started Castlegar Baptist Church we began having four services each week and have continued in that pattern for more than 16 years. We add to those services other special meetings, Bible Institute classes and many group activities for families and individuals.
Why so much emphasis on the local church? The answer is simple: because that’s how God intends it. The idea of Christians trying to live the Christian life independent of the local church is totally foreign to the New Testament.
Every New Testament epistle was addressed to the members of a local church or to key leaders in a church. Throughout the New Testament the assumption is always the same: that the people of God are faithfully gathering together in a local assembly where the Word of God is being taught. That unified gathering — not just the invisible worldwide church, but the local, visible congregation — is at the heart of Christianity.
Sadly, many churches today have felt a need to compromise truth and standards in order to appear more in sync with the culture. In their attempt to look relevant they have become irrelevant. A church should feel timeless, not trendy. In a world where lives are being tossed about by a current of constant change, people have the need to connect with something enduring and firm. I believe the church is designed to meet that need by representing an eternal kingdom and ageless truth with no need to imitate the culture. I don’t think a church should be old-fashioned, as in 50 years ago but timeless, as in 2,000 years ago. Come and find that reassuring foundation of timeless truth and the fellowship of others whose lives have been touched by the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.