In its 30 year history, the Barna Group has distinguished itself as the leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture. In 2000, Barna reported that almost six in 10 adults (58%) had attended church in the past month. In 2015, that number had decreased to 46%. A change of 12 percentage points.
In that same 2015 study, Barna reported:
Although church attendance had declined significantly, the drop in those who continue to call themselves “Christian” has not been as pronounced. This has created an interesting group of “spiritual but not religious” Christians who self-identify as Christian and say “faith is very important in my life”—but do not regularly attend church. Their mantra might resemble something like: “Forget the Church, Follow Jesus.”
Though justification of sins has never hinged on one’s church attendance record, regular worship, Christ-like service, and meaningful connection within the local church plays an important role in shaping the identify of growing disciples. Biblical community matters.
But in a day in time where you can access great Biblical teaching at the tap of a finger, why do we still need a local church? Biblical community matters. God uses Biblical community to renew and mature us.
In Biblical community we are renewed when we are…
…united in Christ’s love.
…united in sound doctrine based on God’s Word.
…united in shared ministry.
…united in our witness.
We need one another. In English, “one another” is two words, but it’s only one word in the Biblical Greek. It’s used 100 times in 94 New Testament verses. 47 of those verses give instructions to the church. Here are a few of the “one another” verses from Scripture.
In Biblical community we are called to…
- Love one another. John 13:34
- Bear with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2, Colossians 3:13
- Be at peace with one another. Mark 9:50
- Accept one another. Romans 15:7
- Through love, serve on another. Galatians 5:13
- Bear one another’s burdens. Galatians 6:2
- Speak truth to one another in love. Ephesians 4:25
- Encourage one another. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
- Forgive each other. Ephesians 4:32
- Spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24
- Pray for one another. James 5:16
Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.. —Hebrews 10:24-25 (GNT)
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©2017 Warren Baptist Church. Excerpts of this post were adapted from the Sermon-Based Curriculum for the Growing in Christ Series, Warren Baptist Church.