Why should I attend church?

The New Testament repeatedly emphasizes the importance of local assemblies. In fact, it was the pattern of Paul’s ministry to establish local congregations in the cities where he preached the gospel. Hebrews 10:24-25 commands every believer to be a part of such a local body and reveals why this is necessary.

“And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

It is only in the local body to which one is committed that there can be the level of intimacy that is required for carefully stimulating fellow-believers “to love and good deeds.” And it is only in this setting that we can encourage one another.

The New Testament also teaches that every believer is to be under the protection and nurture of the leadership of the local church. These godly men can shepherd the believer by encouraging, admonishing, and teaching. Hebrews 13:7 and 17 help us to understand that God has graciously granted accountability to us through godly leadership.

Furthermore, when Paul gave Timothy special instructions about the public meetings, he said “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13). Part of the emphasis in public worship includes these three things: hearing the Word, being called to obedience and action through exhortation, and teaching. It is only in the context of the local assembly that these things can most effectively take place.

Acts 2:42 shows us what the early church did when they met together: “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” They learned God’s Word and the implications of it in their lives; they joined to carry out acts of love and service to one another; they commemorated the Lord’s death and resurrection through the breaking of bread; and they prayed. Of course, we can do these things individually, but God has called us into His body-the church is the local representation of that worldwide-body-and we should gladly minister and be ministered to among God’s people.

Active local church membership is imperative to living a life without compromise. It is only through the ministry of the local church that a believer can receive the kind of teaching, accountability, and encouragement that is necessary for him to stand firm in his convictions. God has ordained that the church provide the kind of environment where an uncompromising life can thrive.

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Question 5: Church Community

Another important part of being involved in a church is being in fellowship with other Christains. You want to make sure you find a church that you can become actively involved in. Hebrews 3:13 and 10:25 make it clear that if you want to have a successful Christian life, you have to be involved personally in your church. It is often in these more intimate settings accountability, encouragement and growth takes place.

Some of the questions you should think through are: Does this church have regular times for small groups? (Bible studies, prayer groups, etc.) Could you begin attending one of these right away?

Are there people in this church that you could get to know who could help disciple & befriend you?

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Question 4: Churches Purpose

As ‘The Purpose Driven Everything’ takes over the Christian world, churches are thinking about their purpose. This is both sad that we would forget but encouraging as christians we begin to understand our role in this world and God’s involvement through us.

Biblically, the purposes that every church should be seeking to fulfill are worship, evangelism, training, encouragement, fellowship, and service. It is important to find a church that takes these seriously and is actively working to make them happen. God has saved us so that we can be the ‘light to the world’ that we would ‘spread the good news of Christ’ these ideas are called “missiology” or studing the mission of the Church as God planned it.

Matthew 28: 18-20
18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

So the next question to ask is…

Does this church see it’s purpose to glorify/worship God and evangelize the lost?

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Question 3: Worship

Now that you’ve examined if the church holds to scripture and that this shapes what they believe, the next thing to look at is how their beliefs tranform their lives. We are told that the “fruits of the Spirit” (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control–Galatians 5:22-23) are part of being a believer.

Do you see the fruits of the spirit in how people treat each other? Will non-believers come in and know they are christians by their love? Does the worship service point you to Christ and cause you to worship God, or does it instead glorify people or rituals? Is the music style an entertainment/concert? We are designed by God to be a people of worship. We will either worship our creator or the created. So the next question to ask is…

Is their a genuine spirit of worship and fruit in the San Diego church?

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Question 2: Churches Beliefs

Ok, so the churches you are looking at have been narrowed down to only those who claim that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. (Again, if scriptures are not seen as true, all you are going to hear from the preacher is their opinion! We have enough opinions out there as it is.) So the next piece to this journey is to examine how they view what scripture says. Often this is called their ‘doctrine’, ‘beliefs’, ‘confessions’, ‘statement of faith’, etc. This is a really difficult one because often many preachers do not even know what they believe. Here is an example doctrine statement

For example, does the San Diego Church believe and teach that:

-God is a Trinity–Three Persons in One (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)
-Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, and lived a sinless life
-He died on the Cross as the final payment for all sins
-Mankind is sinful and in need of a Savior
-Salvation is only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ
-A person is saved when he/she repents of sin and trusts Christ as Savior and Lord?

These ideas are just scratching the surface. For example, you could go further examining the state of man’s sinfullness. Some people believe that mankind is mostly good and that they just need to find God. Other’s believe that mankind in their state of sin can only be saved if God sends His spirit to reveal himself to them. This sound like little matters but they make a HUGE impact on how we live.

Now don’t get me wrong, we still have many things left to look at such as the mission of the church, the community, and all sorts of other important things. But for now, the second question is:

How does the Church interpret (beliefs) what Scripture says?

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Question 1: The Bible

One of the most critical things that seperates churches, is how they view the Bible. Many churches ‘highly esteem’ the Bible but ultimately do not believe that it is the inspired Word of God. The Bible alone should be the source of authority in a church. We, as Christians, believe God inspired people to write down the very words they wrote by the power of the Holy Spirit. If we do not believe this to be true and you do not trust Scripture to be accurate, then all you are left with is a cafeteria plan. Meaing, that you pick and choose what verses you would like to believe while throwing the rest out. This results in not accepting God for who He says He is in scripture, but building your own God the way you want by accepting or ignoring what is written in the Bible. So question #1 for choosing a church is:

Does the Church hold Scripture to be the inspired Word of God?

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