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Key Christian Practices — Part 3

Join a Bible-centered church

Doug Britton, MFT
www.dougbrittonbooks.com

Page Summary
Summary: Join a Bible-centered church

Part 3 of a 4-part series on “Key Christian Practices”

Part 1      Part 2      Part 3      Part 4

Introduction

An increasing number of people think they don’t need to go to church on a regular basis, either in-person or online. Some think they can commune with God on their own. Others don’t see any value in attending church.

Although it’s true that we can commune with God on our own, if that’s all we do we miss out on the many benefits of meeting together.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)

What is “church”?

What do you think of when you hear the word “church”? Many people immediately think of a church building. However, in the New Testament, the word “church” refers to people—not buildings. In fact, sometimes all the believers throughout the world are collectively called “the church.”

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Ephesians 1:22-23)

However, in the New Testament, the word “church” usually refers to a group of believers who  in a specific city.  These groups typically met in people’s homes, although in Acts 2:46 we read that the early Christians in Jerusalem met in the temple courts.

In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manean (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. (Acts 13:1)

For this study, let’s use the word “church” to refer to a local group of believers who get together to worship God in a specific place. These groups range from  small to large to very large.

Make it personal

1. What are the two ways the word “church” is used in the New Testament?

2. What are some reasons it’s good to meet with other believers in a local church?

In tomorrow’s lesson, you will read about the importance of meeting with small groups of believers. For some people, their small group is their church.

Why it’s a good idea to be involved in a Bible-centered church

There are many advantages to being part of a larger, Bible-centered church. Here are a few:

Personal growth

Everyone should be growing—growing in knowledge of God, in love, and in maturity. In a larger church you are more likely to have the opportunity to interact with and learn from a variety of other believers whom God has called specifically to help his people grow.

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s 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)

Make it personal

3. What are some ways your church provides opportunities for personal growth?

4. Name one person in your church experience who was instrumental in your growth as a Christian. What did he or she do that was helpful to you?

Balanced doctrines

Believers who live isolated lives or just have a few Christian friends sometimes get caught up in weird or extreme ideas. In a larger church, the greater number of believers often acts as a check-and-balance against odd beliefs and impostors. (Of course, it’s possible for a large group to get caught up in foolish ideas.)

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. (Matthew 7:15)

Make it personal

5. Have you ever observed people in an isolated group who adopted some strange practices or ideas that might have been prevented if they had been part of a larger group? If so, what happened?

6. What lessons could be learned from their experience?

Group worship

There’s something exhilarating when a large group of believers worship together. That can be especially inspiring when you have gifted, anointed worship leaders.

Make it personal

7. What do you experience when you are in a worship service?

8. How does this affect your Christian walk?

Opportunities to get to know many types of people

If you only interact with a small group of believers who are similar to yourself, you may miss out on a wide variety of potential friendships with people who don’t look like you or who have different personalities and interests.

Opportunities to serve

Every believer has been called to play a role in God’s family. When you are in a church, there may be opportunities to serve in a wide variety of ministries. God wants us to pray and look for ways we can get involved. These can range from helping teach children’s Sunday school to working in the church garden to volunteering in the office to helping widows and single parents.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

Make it personal

9. What are some ways you have served in church or Christian ministry?

10. What are some ways you would like to serve in church or Christian ministry?

 

Memory verse

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. (Acts 2:46)

Make it personal

1. What are two ways the New Testament uses the word “church”?

2. What do most modern Christians think the word “church” means? In what way(s) is that accurate or inaccurate?

3. What are the main things you get out of going to church?

4. How involved do you get during worship services? Could you become more involved?

5. What are some ways church can protect you from believing false doctrines?

6. Name two people you have admired in church and describe why you admire them:

7. What are some ways you have helped serve in church?

8. What are some ministries you would like to help with in your church?

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About Doug Britton, MFT

Doug Britton, Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist, has helped hundreds of thousands of people as a therapist, clinical director of a treatment center, seminar speaker, radio cohost, and author of over twenty books that show how to apply God's truths in your daily life. (Visit www.dougbrittonbooks.com.)

Copyright © 2020 Doug Britton. Permission granted to print for personal use. (Scripture verses are from the New International Version, copyright © 1984.) See reprint policy.

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