An assumption that Nancy and I have consistently honored and never questioned in our marriage is membership and active participation in a local church. Each time we moved to a new city we quickly jumped into a church community and made that one of the focal points around which we ordered our lives. One reason for this unchallenged commitment lies in our theology. We agree that this is what God intends for his people in general and for us in particular. This is our application of Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 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.” Throughout Scripture and church history God’s people have always gathered.
Another reason Nancy and I do not question our commitment to church involvement is pragmatic. The support we have received and continue to receive from our church communities is amazing. How would we survive without the encouragement, instruction, friendship, etc, that we find at church? Throughout our married life together this has been dramatically demonstrated a number of times. For example, there were a couple of times that our financial lives dipped into poverty. During these times, our church community bailed us out with things like food, donated cars, and even cash. We received amazing emotional and spiritual support during Nancy’s bouts with cancer. Our churches have supported us through traumatic events with our ministry careers. I wonder if we would have made it through some of these life events had we not had the support of our local church.
I was reminded of this during our Growth Group meeting last evening. Our group is made up of simple people who face real life issues. If you quickly looked in on us, you would probably not be impressed. We do not look like people of great faith. However, if you listened to our conversation for even a short while, you would have to be a cold-hearted cynic to not sense the warmth of God’s Holy Spirit and become amazed at how he is personally and actively engaged in our daily lives. Our faith is built as we listen to each other’s stories about how God is working in and through us.
Thank God for the blessing of the Church.