“So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service, so that the Body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13
You’ve heard the story from someone—maybe a family member or friend. They’re fed up with “the organized church.” It wasn’t meant to be this way. Hypocrites, liars, and selfishness—the Church is full of it and they want no more of it. So they’ll continue to practice their faith. They’ll just do it apart from the Church. After all, Jesus is a personal Lord and Savior, right? So since the relationship with Jesus is one-on-one, there’s really no need for an outdated, antiquated, and dysfunctional organization called the Church. How many times has this argument been used?!
Yet when you look at the whole counsel of Scripture, no true believer in Jesus should say or believe such a thing. True, the Church is filled with flawed, imperfect people and leaders, but the Church was designed to be a family of faith gathered together not merely to better ourselves or seek our own blessings or self-interest, but rather to pool our talents, gifts, and abilities to serve those around us and share our faith.
In the New Testament we see an example of God gathering people with a myriad of individual talents to become the Body of Christ. Body is a specific term. Every gift and ability is needed, just as each limb and organ is needed to form our own complete bodies. To isolate yourself from the Body is wrong on two counts. First, you keep the Church from being complete by withholding your contribution of ability to the mission of God. Second, you are attempting to fulfill your role in the Kingdom on your own. It is no different than a hand saying, I can do all things on my own—I don’t need a head, or eyes, or legs, or a heart.
Each Christian is an essential part of the Body of Christ. Learning how to function together, flaws and all, to fulfill the mission of God and to grow more like Christ as we grow in unity with one another, is a part of being a Christ-follower. Every person committed to Christ is indeed a part of the family of God.
God, Thank You for creating a family of faith through Your Church. Help me to contribute my best talents, gifts, and abilities through the Church. Show me how to be an example to other Christ-followers, and to be an active part of my local church as I serve the community and share my faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.