Stop Going To Church
It seems crazy for pastors to advocate that people stop going to church. It is not so much about physically attending a church as it is a call to become the church. To grow where God plants you; that means getting involved in a church by serving, giving, being in a small group, etc. For the church to accomplish its mission, people must be plugged in and contributing by using their gifts to further the gospel of Jesus Christ. Engaged people are what is necessary in building stronger biblical communities.
Something To Talk About:
Flourishing in this life means we do what God has called us to do. That requires us to be planted in the local church. If you want to find out what a seed is, just plant it. If you are planted in the local church you are going to grow into your destiny. Being planted means that you lay down your life to serve God in the church you are in. The Church was created by God to help people live out their Christian lives. We must bloom where He plants us. If you are properly planted in a church and are properly fed the Word of God, you will grow and if you grow you will bloom where you are planted.
- Your roots grow deep: With plants, we typically observe what is above ground, not the important part that is underneath—its root system. A plant without strong roots will eventually be consumed by weeds, a storm, or even die. In order to make sure these roots grow strong, one must plant them in the right soil and then be constantly taking care of them. The place to do both is the church. The church can help supply enough nutrients for our spiritual roots. “Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:7) Take each day as an opportunity to nurture your spiritual roots, seek nourishment through the cross of Jesus, and protection through the power of the Holy Spirit by being engaged in the local church.
- Your roots produce fruit: Our fruit comes from God, but the fruit of the branch is directly traceable to the root. God wants us to “bear fruit” (John. 15:2), “produce much fruit” (v. 8), and “produce lasting fruit.” (v.16). However, He takes responsibility for providing all we need to be fruitful (vv. 2,3). So what actions am I responsible for? As we abide in Christ and He in us, we experience the life and love of Christ flowing into our lives, resulting naturally in being fruitful. Being fruitful means moving toward spiritual maturity, becoming more and more like Jesus and being a reflection of Him. That requires community, being engaged with other believers in church and in small groups. Community is part of the means by which we live “in Christ” and Christ lives in us. Get engaged with the church. Look at serving with fresh eyes as though seeing your life circumstances for the first time. Notice who you know and who you could take the next step of engaging with: friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, etc. The most precious gift that any unbeliever has and doesn’t value is a relationship with someone who knows Jesus. They live one degree of separation away from eternal life because they know you. It could be that God will use you to share that message with them. That is the mission of the church.
- How many areas of your life does the church impact?
- What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of church? What were your first/early experiences of attending church? Were those positive or negative experiences in your faith journey and why?
- You may wake up on Sunday mornings and decide to go to church. But is church simply a place you go? Is church a destination or is it something more?
- Someone once said, “Church is something we are.” How might your life look different if you lived as though church wasn’t a destination or an event, but something you are?
- How would you describe being planted in our church? What does being planted mean to you?
- How does being planted in a church help you grow and flourish? What are some different ways that people can take to be planted in the church?
- What is the value of being a member of a small group?
- What is standing in the way of you being planted and putting down roots at Northstar? Any church?
- What can we do this week to ensure that we are not just going to church but that we are the church?
Take one thing home with you
“Put me in coach.”
If you are not actively involved in a church this Easter, I hope this message will motivate you to get actively engaged. Church is not a spectator sport. We all have a a vital role to play in furthering God’s Kingdom. Each of has a different role to play in God’s family, or as a part of God’s team. Standing on the sidelines is like asking to be on a football team but asking the coach to never put you in the game.
I believe nothing is more satisfying than actively participating in the spiritual life of the church. All that we do is aimed toward serving God and His children. Whatever your talents, interests or passions, we invite you to find your place in the work we do. Use your gifts to serve others and you will see lives changed. See what God can do through you.