3 Reasons Why You Need a Christian Community
Do I need to be part of a Christian community if I am a Christian? What about being involved in church or spending time with other believers?
Now, these are important questions which unfortunately come to mind once too often. And if you have ever experienced disappointment or hurt by those in the community, it’s only natural that you’ll wrestle with such thoughts.
But when these thoughts do come, it can be helpful to remind yourself of what the Christian community is intended for and our need for her. This starts by uncovering the original purpose for this community and the important functions that it serves for believers.
#1: TO ANCHOR CHRISTIANS IN THE FAITH
Let’s go back to the time of Exodus where the first community of God’s people first gathered as one. This was when God first rescued the Hebrews out of Egypt and made His purpose clear to them (Exodus 6:7), promising that to be their God and they, His people.
When this covenantal relationship was established, one of the first few instructions given to God’s people was for them not to intermarry with other tribes and not to partake in the pagan feasts and festivals of unbelievers.
However, the purpose for such an instruction was not a matter of genetics, xenophobia or about keeping outsiders out (Think Rahab, Ruth and the Gibeonites), but it was a battle for preserving spiritual influence.
Here, we observe how the community of God played that key role of anchoring believers to their faith - keeping them in the faith, rather than distracting or drawing them away from God.
Hence, the need for a Christian community stems from the eventual necessity that every believer - in the midst of a distracting world - needs to be tethered back to a source of spiritual influence. Being anchored in a Christian community that serves to keep the believer in the faith allows Christians to be attached firmly to the things of God.
Now, this is not to say that a believer cannot enjoy the company of different communities, but the key community that we should always have a foot in ought to be that of our local church.
#2: TO HELP CHRISTIANS GROW IN THE FAITH
As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child”. In the same way, it takes a church to raise a believer. What this means is that a Christian community exists for one to be grown in the faith...and this doesn’t happen by being alone.
The Lord has placed Christian teachers, leaders, brothers and sisters of the faith within the Christian community for believers to model after and grow in the maturity of their faith (Ephesians 4:11-14).
And as it is understood in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”, so does a believer get sharper in his or her faith by living out their Christianity within their local church.
#3: TO HELP CHRISTIANS GROW OTHERS IN THE FAITH
The most neglected of all three is the importance of a Christian community as a place for believers to not just grow themselves, but to grow others in the faith.
Sometimes, there’s a tendency for Christians to be receivers and not givers - focusing solely on what they can receive from the church and not on how they can give to the church.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 reads, “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” Christians often forget that being part of the body of Christ isn’t just for the church to be accountable to the believer, but also for the believer to be accountable to the church.
As much as there is a need for one to be built in the faith, there is a need for one to ensure that others around him or her are being built up.
In view of the above, it’s only natural that believers need to be a part of a healthy Christian community. One where the church becomes the much needed and necessary platform of faith for believers to be both receivers and givers of His love.