You need a local church to belong to and a local church needs you. Millard Erickson defines the church as “the whole body of those who through Christ’s death have been savingly reconciled to God and have received new life…While universal in nature, it finds expression in a local grouping of believers that display the same qualities as does the body of Christ as a whole.”  You were not created to live life in isolation from others. There are some basic human relational needs that must be met. In this post, I hope to demonstrate that you need your local church, and your local church needs you.
A November 2020 Gallup poll provides astonishing insights on the relationship between religious service attendance and mental health. Joseph Serwach summarizes the data well in his Medium.com article. The study found that “Americans who attend religious services weekly were the only demographic group to see their mental health improve in 2020.” Serwach went on to observe that the least religious Americans who seldom or never attended religious services saw a “13 percentage point drop from 2019”. This poll is insightful. The data affirms what Bible believing Christians have since the first century. Local church attendance impacts one’s life in a positive way.
Increased mental health alone, however, may not convince you to become an active participant in a local church. Perhaps you will resonate with a statement from Gavin Ortlund. He said, “Many today lack this sense of objective meaning; we are starved of transcendence, community, stability; we’re aching to find something big to live for; we feel listless, adrift, barren.”  In the church, an objective purpose for living is discovered, that is to do everything for the glory of God. The church also provides us with the opportunity to experience life in community. Check out my previous post where I reflected on Bonhoeffer’s seminary as a model for Christian community.
You need the church because you were not created to live life in isolation. You need the church because you grow when you spend time with other believers. You need the church because it is the visible community of Christ’s abiding presence on earth. You need the church because your growth as a disciple exponentially grows, whereas attempting to live out your faith as a lone ranger results in discouragement, stunted spiritual growth, and perhaps false unbiblical beliefs.
Not only do you need the Church, the Church needs you. Your unique gifts and personality strengthen other believers. There are kingdom tasks to be accomplished. Jesus intended that his church would be the place where disciples would be made and equipped to make other disciples. If you have been hesitant to return to church, please consider returning. Your brothers and sisters miss you and so does your pastor.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way churches share their messages and ministries. Churches will and should continue to maintain a vibrant online presence, yet streamed music and sermons alone cannot sustain anyone. We need people to pray with, grieve with, fellowship with, and grow in the Bible with. You need the Church and the church needs you. Renew your commitment to a local body of believers today!
 Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed., (Baker Academic: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2013), 597.
 Gavin Ortlund, Theological Retrieval for Evangelicals: Why We Need Our Past to Have a Future, (Crossway: Wheaton, Illinois, 2019), 63.
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