What is Church and Why is it Important?

Arena Men,

Last week, a Tweet I sent struck a nerve with men. I knew it would. In the context of Christian men excusing why they refuse to attend church I tweeted, “More is at stake than your faith men. Lead your family well. God is looking for devout men, not excuse makers.”

Covid-19 forced us out of churches in 2020 and almost two years later, many have not returned. I am calling you home. It is time to lead your families again. It is time to return.

Church of Excuses

More and more I run into men who have exited the church yet believe they can still live a dynamic Christian life, while leading their family closer to Jesus.  Please, introduce me to this enigmatic man. In 35 years of vocational ministry (in and out of the church) I have yet to meet him and would like to interview him on our podcast. 

I will never budge on the argument. Committed followers of Jesus consistently—religiously— attend church.

I know that the church is flawed because people are flawed. Flawed people like you! The church is full of hypocrites because people fill the church. Hypocrites like you! The church sometimes wounds people because hurting people hurt people. Just like you! The sooner we put on our big boy pants and accept this truth, the better off we and those who depend on us will be. It is time to grow up, get over yourself, and stop making excuses. 

Church of the Mountains

Naturalist John Muir (1838-1914) is famously known for saying, “I’d rather be in the mountains thinking of God, than in church thinking about the mountains.” I hear men say similar things all the time. 

“The mountains are my church.” 

Or, like Muir, “I’d rather be out fishing and thinking about God, than in church and thinking about fishing.” Any derivative thereof is the confession of a lukewarm faith (at best) that is not fully devoted to Jesus Christ.  I categorically disagree with Mr. Muir’s statement with extreme prejudice. A devout man would never say such a thing, and Muir’s ideologies about God must be taken with a grain of salt.

Church of the Disenfranchised

Men are confused and disenfranchised. Maybe that is why they have left the church.. What exactly is the church? The New Testament word for "church" is ekklesia, which means “the called--out ones.” Church, ekklesia, is used for the community of God's people some 109 times (out of 114 occurrences of the term). Although the word only occurs in two Gospel passages (Matthew 16:18 and 18:17), it is used 23 times in the Book of Acts and 46 times in Paul’s epistles. Furthermore, it is found 20 times in Revelation. 

How do I define “church?” Let’s do away with confusion. When imploring men to attend church, what do I mean by church? Read my definition slowly, studying the importance of every word.

Church is a consistent gathering of believers to worship God
through music, Bible teaching, fellowship, and practicing
the Biblical stewardship of gifts, talents, and resources,
while encouraging one another towards a deeper faith in Jesus.

 

Notice what I did not say. I did not say a denomination. I did not say a building. I did not say a television screen. I did not say the mountains, lake, or football stadium either.

I did say consistent. I did say believers. I did say gathering. I did say worship. I did say practicing.

So, you do not go to church anymore but claim to be a devoted follower of Jesus and obedient to his Word, then explain Hebrews 10:24-25 in light of your church absence, “Let us consider how to spur (NIV) one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

Church of the Religious

We hate the word religion, but like it or not, devout implies doing certain things with religious fervor and constancy. There’s a reason we call daily Bible reading, “devotions.” 

In my book, The Full Capacity Man (to be released in June 2022) one chapter is called The Devout Man from Titus 1:7-8, “For the overseer must be…devout.”  

The Greek for “devout” is hosios; “showing deep religious feeling or commitment” (Oxford). D. Edmund Hiebert describes the threefold purpose of hosios as, “denoting his personal piety, an inner attitude of conforming to what is felt to be pleasing to God, and consistent religious practices.” 

In other words, devout men are committed to three things:

  1. Devoted to church attendance.
  2. Devoted to Biblical obedience.
  3. Devoted to Christian service. 

Carefully read Jesus final commands to the disciples in John 13:34-35,A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  

Did you catch that? The world bears witness of our faith in Jesus by our love for other believers. 

Church for Men

You can read more about my beliefs on the church and how a man consistently walks with God in our Amazon #1 bestseller, Strong Men Dangerous Times. 

If you are not a consistent church (defined above) attender, I emphatically encourage you to visit our website and sign up to join our program now! We will be launching more virtual teams this January. 

  • We just uploaded my newest book, Tell Them: What Great Fathers Tell Their Sons and Daughters including 200 “tell them’’ statements, Bible verses, and meditative images to help dads become their best version. When you see this book, you will not believe we are not selling it. It will be a cherished tool in your fathering arsenal.
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Becoming His Best Version,

  

Jim

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