Thursday, March 05, 2009

Why Join a Church?

One of the classes we are offering in the new quarter of Sunday School at JPBC is called Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church and is being taught by Steve Belcher. The class is based on the book by Don Whitney of the same title published by Moody in 1996. Some of you may also remember that we had Don Whitney, who now teaches at the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, do a weekend conference at JPBC a few years ago.

In this book Whitney examines what we might call the "corporate" spiritual disciplines. These are the things we do together with the church that help us grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whitney also has a valuable book on developing personal or individual spiritual disciplines (Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life [NavPress, 1991]; in fact in the month of March 2009 you can download an abridged audio of this book for free here).

Some of the questions Whitney’s book and Steve’s class are asking (and answering) include the following:

Why go to church?
Why seek baptism in the church?
Why join a church?
Why listen to preaching in the church?
Why worship in the church?
Why witness in the church?
Why serve in the church?
Why fellowship with the church?

In the chapter on "Why Join a Church?" Whitney provides the following Biblical reasons why a Christian should join a church:
  • You prove that you are not ashamed to identify with Christ or his people.
  • You stop being an independent Christian.
  • You participate in a stronger, more unified effort of God’s people.
  • You have a greater opportunity to use your spiritual gifts.
  • You openly demonstrate the reality of the Body of Christ.
  • You participate in a more balanced ministry.
  • You demonstrate your commitment to "the proper working of each individual part."
  • You encourage new believers to commitment to the local body of Christ.
  • You encourage a ministry when you consider it faithful and join it.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle
Note: From Evangel article 3.4.09.

No comments: