Let’s invite our members back to our worship services.

Despite the challenges, online worship as result of the Covid pandemic has led to some truly nice surprises. Ministers are excited about “seeing” people join a virtual service that had not set foot in their physical sanctuary. It is surprising to see how many people show up online that we had been unsuccessfully inviting to in person services for years.


But can it ever be true that we live during an age where people do not need the in person meeting of believers anymore.  Online worship is not the new normal and the answer to the decline in participation in local Churches. It the result of a lack of Biblical teaching by the Church about the Church!

Interesting research shows that the church is at great risk to experience permanent damage to her very DNA after prolonged periods of fundamental change to her practices and traditions. After World War Two, when most church members in the UK and Europe were unable to attend because both men and women were not in their hometowns and were assigned duties where attending church services were impossible, they never saw participation with their congregations ever again. It was the beginning of local churches practically being wiped out because of non-attendance.


A strategy to bring folks back to physical association with the local church must be in place. An important part of this strategy would be to use the online services where many “new” faces appear, to teach clearly and without excuse what the Bible teaches about who and what the Church of Christ is and how and why we should be part of her physical togetherness and truly joyful fellowship.


Paul writes to Timothy in 1 Tim 3: 15: “I write (to you) so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”


This short verse says a lot about the local Church. Paul spoke to Timothy about “the Church of the living God”, about the “household of God” and about the Church as the “pillar of truth”. We need to carefully examine what the Bible says to remain within God’s will when it comes to being part of the Church and about maintaining God’s work through our local Churches.


There is a danger that in our current society we live with a multitude of political, civil, social, environmental, sport and business organisations the church becomes nothing more than just another option to choose from. This is unbiblical false teaching.


Paul, however, indicated to Timothy that the Church has a special importance in God’s plan for our lives and if we want to serve and worship God, we need instruction on how we are to relate to the local Church and plan of God for conducting ourselves as followers of Jesus Christ.


1. The Church is the Household of God.

Many metaphors are used to describe the Church in the Bible, for example a bride, temple, a body, a community, and a family.

When the Church is referred to as a household, the emphasis is on the essential need of believers to be supported and encouraged through real, authentic relationships with other believers.


We are interconnected because God is Father for all of us and we have only one Saviour, while one Holy Spirit lives in us. We have been initiated into one Body by the same Baptism and as such we were ordained to serve God as part of this faith community and to share in the same Supper of Christ (Holy Communion) to be strengthened and built up in our most holy faith. The Lord’s Supper is not optional: it is a command of Jesus.


We are to care for each other, to share God’s love and to help those who need support or are hurting. We all need encouragement. We all need to grow in the knowledge of Christ. We all need to grow in love for the Lord. This happens within the family of God. Being practically part of the family is essential and the Bible says the local Church is where you will experience this.


Our behaviours, choices and participation impact on our brothers and sisters who need us. When we are willing to share in the family of God, we will find that we need their love, friendship, and encouragement too.


Let’s be very clear: If we do not see the Church as the household of God and ourselves as brothers and sisters to every other believer, we do not listen to what the Bible says about the Church. But if we do, we will begin to experience the abundance and joy that Christian living is intended to be.


2. The Church is the pillar and support of the truth.

Learning about the Gospel and about God in the faith community, safeguards the truth. Anyone can sometimes misinterpret God’s Word and some are prone to over emphasising one teaching of the Bible to the detriment of others. Within the Church of Christ, we find the support to uphold the complete truth and full counsel of God.


The Church is a pillar and support of God’s truth, because of the biblical promise that God’s Spirit will be present within this community and will guide his people. We also have a promise that where two or three gather in Christ’s Name, he will be in their midst. And when we gather in Church, we in faith expect God to address his people on the one universal, Christian truth as revealed in Christ and testified to by the prophets and apostles in the Scriptures.


The Church provides the context where we challenge one another to fully live for the Lord, based on the truth God has revealed to us in Christ and through the Scriptures. We do this as the household of God, the community of the King, the Church of the Living God.


3. Meeting as the Household of God is not optional.

Jesus established the Church. He did not only establish individual Christian-living, but a faith fellowship called the Church. Jesus said he builds a community on the confession that he is Lord, Saviour and the Son of God. It is this community that the New Testament calls the Church of Christ.


The New Testament simply assumes that people who are believers are part of a local Church, because the Church of the Lord is not man’s invention, but God’s.


Sharing the Word and Sacraments is not arranged by manmade rules and wisdom, by manuals and church orders – but by God our Father, through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives - to the glory of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of his body – his holy Church.

Let’s use our online platforms to teach God’s truth about fellowship in the local church.