Why Shouldn’t I Give Up on the Church?

Have you ever felt or thought the following?

  • “I love Jesus, but I hate church.”
  • “I feel that my faith is something just between me and God.”
  • “I’m an introvert, and church—with all the people and loud music—is just overwhelming.”
  • “Church people just aren’t authentic. They come together and ‘praise Jesus’ but then treat you like dirt. I just don’t want to be a part of something so fake.”
  • “I feel like I can’t be real or share my issues at church, so what’s the point in going?”

If you have, you’re not alone.

It seems like everywhere I turn, people in my generation (Millennials) are giving up on church. I have several close friends that are either between churches, have dropped out of church entirely, or are just struggling to be consistent with attending their church. Some bloggers I respect and enjoy reading have shared on their websites reasons why they no longer attend a local church. It’s a theme that keeps popping up on my Facebook feed and in conversations. Church has become a bad word to many people.

I get it. I really do. Being part of a church can be painful and more discouraging than life-giving at times. I’ve been part of many different churches in my short lifetime. I’ve experienced church splits, backbiting, and the loneliness of fake smiles. But I’ve also experienced the flip side: love, unity, and authentic community.

So if you’re in this struggle, too, I want to encourage you.

Don’t Give Up!

Here are seven reasons not to give up on church:

1. Being part of a local church is commanded for our good.

Hebrews 10:24–25 says this: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

If you’ve ever struggled with attending or committing to a church, you’ve probably heard this passage. But have you ever wondered why God expects this?

Earlier in the book, we find the answer:

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:13).

God calls us to obey this command so that we would be protected against spiritual blind spots. Having other believers around to speak into our lives guards us from falling into sin’s traps and hardening our hearts toward God.

2. Being part of a local church gives us a context to practice the “one anothers” of Scripture and use our spiritual gifts.

“Love one another” and “bear with one another” are two commands we cannot obey without other people. When I’m connected with other believers (who are imperfect, too), it’s going to be hard. As I react (or am tempted to react) sinfully to personality differences, disagreements, and even others’ sin, God can reveal the areas where I still need repentance and refining. In those moments, I can choose to take my eyes off my own needs and ask God to help me learn love and care for my church family.

That’s why Paul wrote that “each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7). God gives us spiritual gifts so that we can help and serve one another in Christ.

3. Being part of a local church keeps my faith from being merely an individual project of my own making.

It’s become more and more popular to make a “custom-built,” individualistic faith: just me and Jesus. The fact is our faith was never designed to be only my personal relationship with Jesus. That is part of it, but not the whole story.

The church exists as a Body—individuals in a family. There’s a communal aspect to it. God desires to put us with people and under authority to keep us from heading into error or isolating ourselves. Proverbs 18:1 has some wise words: “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” Scary stuff.

4. Being part of a local church allows me to hear all of God’s Word preached—not just the parts I like or consider relevant.

Christians often will only read the parts of the Bible we enjoy (I’m guilty of this, too; the Psalms are my jam), or ignore things that don’t line up with our way of living. We don’t want to wrestle with hard commands or questions.

But a faithful church will not shy away from the hard parts of Scripture, which means a consistent church attender will have to deal with the conviction of the whole counsel of God. When the whole Bible is heard, the Holy Spirit can point out our hidden sin and make wandering off into error more difficult.

5. Being part of a local church expands my view of the grace and love of God.

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:27–28).

I love this passage. In my church there are many people who are not like me, and that’s a good thing. Because of Jesus, all of these different people are brought together. Our God is great, and He shows that greatness by saving a diverse group of people (Rev. 7:9–12). I never see that if I’m only spending time with people who have the same background and interests as me!

6. Being part of a local church provides me with the wisdom of multiple generations and differing experiences.

It’s really easy to just hang with “my people” and not step out of my comfort zone. Being involved in a local church makes me do that constantly, opening my heart to gain wisdom.

It’s good to have older people and younger people in my life. It’s good to have people of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, politics, ethnicities, and education speaking into my life. Their insights from walking with God in different circumstances are a deep wealth of knowledge I can draw on.

But when I don’t have others’ input, I could be on a dangerous path to pride and self-sufficiency. That’s why Proverbs says, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (11:14).

7. Being part of a local church unites me with others in a covenantal relationship and common mission.

Have you ever wanted to be part of something bigger than yourself? Here is the greatest mission that has ever existed:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:18–20).

The Great Commission is a “co-mission”: a mission to do together. Like anything in life, if there is a large goal to meet, it is always better to have a team. Jesus’ team is the Church. When you join a local church, you’re becoming part of a band of brothers and sisters on mission.

In many churches (including my own), members commit to a covenant. It is a binding promise that the church is going to care for you, and you are going to care for those in the church. That church becomes a family to you on the basis of a solemn commitment. Through thick and thin, you are a part of that Body and an essential part of its mission.

The early Church understood covenant well. Scripture tells us that “all who believed were together and had all things in common” (Acts 2:44). Isn’t that a beautiful picture? That is God’s desire for today’s churches also. We often don’t measure up to the ideal, but my generation can be a part of making that happen . . . if we don’t give up.

Bonus reason: Jesus hasn’t given up on the Church.

She is His imperfect, but beautiful Bride. He died to save her, and His love for her is perfect and unending. If Jesus is my Lord, I should love and fight for what He loves and fights for. He sacrificed His life. I may have to sacrifice my preferences or comfort or self-protection. But if He thought she was worth it, she is.

Which of these points is hardest for you to accept? How can you, by God’s grace, commit in a fresh way to His Church?

A version of this post originally appeared at HayleyMullins.com.

About the Author

Hayley Mullins

Hayley Mullins

Hayley Mullins is a biblical counselor based in northern Indiana who finds joy in helping people find help, hope, and healing in Christ. Reading, hiking, watching soccer, collecting records, and chatting over coffee are her everyday delights. Hayley formerly served … read more …

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