What is church? Does it still have a place in the 21st century given the avalanche of social media? Why do we get up from the bed and head down to a building, worship God and hear a sermon when we can “choose” from hundreds of great churches that are on the internet?
I believe that many people know that there is a place in the church and it is an institution that plays a crucial role in the growth of the body of Christ and the Kingdom of God!
Let’s do a simple definition of “Church”—it is a grouping of like-minded believers gathered together (with guests included) to worship God, grow together, do life together and to accomplish the will of God in His Kingdom. There are probably more than five reasons why we should still go to church. However, I will highlight five that are significant here.
- It is a powerful working model for growth (Acts 2:42-47)
Acts 2:42-47 gives us a glimpse into the early church, and more than that, lays down certain key principles on how the early believers faced difficult situations, and yet, grew rapidly! Can you picture the scene where believers, both the poor as well as the better off, came together to share their lives and look after one another? The Gospel of love was lived out! Believers came TOGETHER to learn the Word, to fellowship, pray and share. They were extremely united and surely lived out what it meant when the body of Christ comes together in unity and focus. The church grew and became strong in the midst of great persecution! God was in their midst, and signs and wonders occurred regularly!
- Stirring up love and good works (Hebrews10:23-25)Hebrews 10 exhorts us to hold fast to our confession of hope without wavering; and then goes on to tell the readers not to give up meeting together! The church was not just to come together to learn, to wait till our Lord Jesus returns, but they were to come together to stir each other in love and good works! We have been called to be a body (I prefer to call it family) that will be there for one another, as well as challenge one another to live out our distinctiveness. How can we possibly do this without coming together and engaging one another?
- Exhorting and encouraging one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11)If one were to read the New Testament carefully, you will find occasion upon occasion where the writers exhorted the believers to come together to be an encouragement to one another. When we come together as a church to worship, learn from God’s Word and gather in cells, these are opportunities for us to edify and encourage one another. We have been asked to build each other up through words of encouragement and prayer. When one is down, the other walks with him or her through the situation.
- Teaching and admonishing one another—accountability (Colossians 3:14-16)
Colossians 3:14 calls us to put on love, which will bind us perfectly together. And then in verse 16, there is a call for us to teach and admonish one another. Ouch! No one likes to be admonished! But when we come together in love, what better way is there to watch and guide each other along this journey of faith? And when the situation demands it, to admonish one another? Admonishing is really rebuking, reprimanding and correcting one another. We all have blind spots, so we definitely need one another to point them out. When we do this under the covering of love, it is a win-win situation. As we are living in the last days, there will be many false teachings and loosening of morals. Christians can easily fall into the trap of temptations. We need to do this even more so now!
- Mobilizing the army of God (Ephesians 4:11-16)
I believe that we are entering a season where an army needs to unite for a major task—gathering in the harvest field that is truly ripe. A Church working together with a clear purpose and vision can make inroads into the harvest field. The gifts of the Holy Spirit for the Church are intended for growing God’s Kingdom. Disciples need to be raised, trained and sent forth. An army is only as strong as how united they are and what they are fighting for. The body of Christ needs to be there for one another in order to fulfill the mandate to go and make disciples of all nations.
About Rev Mark Poh
Rev Mark Poh is currently the Senior Pastor of Emmanuel Assembly of God. He graduated from the University of Waikato, New Zealand where he also received Jesus as his Lord and Savior in 1980. He served in the marketplace for 17 years before he was called into full-time ministry, joining the church as the Youth Pastor in 1999. He obtained his Masters of Theological Studies in 2005. He is serving in the EXCO of the Assemblies of God, Singapore. Rev Mark Poh with his wife, Aye Lan is married for 34 years and they have a daughter, Faithe.