Many believers ask this question. They do so because they see no benefit or reason in it. There are reasons for work and for play, for attending weddings and funerals, even for going to church on certain religious holidays, but joining a church seems to make very little sense to many in our day. Does the church bear any responsibility for this looming uncertainty? Is it a generational issue, where churches are organized by and for the waning generations? Has the church become an organization like others with programs, promotions, events, and functions that represent their theme of the day, month or year? If so, are such programs of interest and essential to membership? Clearly, church leaders are more concerned with this indecision than anyone, since growth and numbers often seem to be the one unifying objective of many Pastors. Even nonevangelical churches are concerned by declining membership and attendance.
For believers, the alternative is to be an occasional attender or simply disconnected with no substantial involvement in any one church. I was raised in a legalistic church and they frequently quoted, “Do not forsake the assembly of yourselves together,” (Heb. 10: 25) as a law suggesting one may fail to go to heaven for failing to attend faithfully. Legalism is wrong, but the scripture is right, having no association or fellowship with other believers is detrimental to our faith and spiritual journey.
The church gathering is not just for us, but rather to partake in communion, physically and spiritually. When the members of the Body of Messiah come together to worship God, it is for communion with Yeshua, remembering His death and resurrection with each other in the presence of the Lord. He said, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matt. 18: 20). In this moment, there is great spiritual power for all of the various purposes of the Lord. This cannot be contrived by worship leaders, nor by ministers, but is by faith and the Holy Spirit. Also, there is a place and time for corporate prayer. Yeshua said, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” (Matt. 18: 19).
Some churches have excellent children’s ministries and considering most people come to faith as a child, this is critical. “Some people say they don’t want to influence or prejudice their children to believe in Christ, but would rather let their child decide on their own.” However, this is faulty worldly reasoning – would a parent say the same thing about any other important matter? For example, would they say, “I don’t want to prejudice my child to go to school, or eat heathy food, or not play in a busy street.” No way! Parents are to teach and admonish their children in the Lord.
Worldly thinking thwarts and confuses many believers in making right decisions. Scripture says that believer’s are to fellowship with other believers, rather than unbelievers. “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ Therefore, ‘Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.’ ” (2 Cor. 6: 14-17).
The believer who thinks he can associate exclusively and closely with worldly people and not become weakened in their spiritual journey and faith is deceived. Joining a church is a decision to unite with other believers under the spiritual covering and kingdom authority of God Almighty. Yeshua Messiah is the Lord and King over every true church and He is fully able to guard and fulfill everything we commit to Him for our good.