I think this is the fourth post in a series. That’s what I get for doing series – months apart from each other. So I think this is the right number…Anyway, that’s not as important as the reason.
I love my church because people know when I haven’t attended on any given Sunday. My wife and I were gone for the weekend of Easter, visiting family. Those of our friends who didn’t know came up to us the next week and said, “We missed you last Sunday.” The first reaction could be that of individualistic piety: “You don’t need to worry about me. Jesus and me are doing fine.” In fact, that is how I first reacted to questions as to where I was the week before.
And as time has gone by I have grown, not only to understand my proclivity to sin and isolation, but in light of this tnedency, my need for accoutnability. My individualistic self would love to do what I want when I want it, no questions asked. And yet, I am thankful for those who have the guts to ask me. Really, it’s a simple question. Yet, when we are proud and think that no one should pry into our personal lives, we have forsaken the brokenness necessary for the Christian life.
I need to be known at my church so that I might not fall through the cracks and away from the grace I have tasted. This simple reaso why I love my church is one of the main reasons I will not become a member of a mega-church. This is one of the reasons why I will not pastor a church of such a size. Being known is part of community. We can speak all day of small group ministry. In the ideal world, the small group ministry would provide the proper accountability. But 1) we don’t live in such a world, 2) do you discipline someone for not coming to small group, but for going to the corporate gathering on the Lord’s Day? 3) do you discipline someone for not going to the corporate gathering, but not to a small group? 4) hoe many small groups meet on such a regular basis where the Word is preached and songs are sung and prayers are prayed? I realize there are some that are doing a great job of this. But if we are honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that a majority of small groups are ineffective at biblical sanctification.
Some may rebut by saying that the early church, after 3000 were added to the rolls, was a mega church. It is speculative to say that the early church met together at one time in one place – it is also assuming that there was a push for large facilities for people to meet in. I have heard a pastor defend a large church by saying that he is preparing for a Pentecost-type revival. Making such preparation for a move of God’s Spirit assumes that we cannot do effective ministry without a big meeting place.
And so, I love my church because I am known and know others.