Does church membership matter? Since God is available to us anywhere and anytime, do we really need to belong to a local church? Can’t we just worship in the privacy of our homes?
Author and pastor Sinclair Ferguson addresses these questions and more in his new book, Devoted to God’s Church: Core Values for Christian Fellowship. Although private time alone with God is vital, Sinclair explains that being a Christian isn’t something we’re meant to do in isolation. Believing in Christ includes the privileges and responsibilities of belonging to God’s family. Belonging to a church, in other words, isn’t an optional extra; it’s a vital necessity.
Looking at the example set by the early church, Sinclair unfolds some of the core values that should be evident in every church, regardless of its size or geographical location. Noting that it’s important to keep the “main things” central, he looks at the fundamental aspects of church life without getting sidetracked by the controversies surrounding any particular approach.
When you read Devoted to God’s Church, you’ll find out what it means to be a Christian, what to look for in a church, and what’s involved in belonging to a local body. While every congregation is unique in many ways, Sinclair reminds us of hallmarks of church life that should be present in every church—things like Bible-based teaching, corporate worship, and prayer. Discover the deeper significance of baptism, Communion, and fellowship, and find out why each of us is called to serve within the church and support world mission work.
Jesus loved and died for the church. “If that is true,” writes Sinclair, “then it follows that as a disciple of Jesus I too should love the church. It should become central to my life. It is simply not possible to live a God-centred, Christ-centred, Spirit-led life unless my life is also church-centred.”
If you’re a new Christian, Devoted to God’s Church will help you understand what it means to join a local church. And if you’re already an established member, you’ll be challenged to think more deeply about worship and your unique role within God’s family. This is Sinclair’s challenge: “We need to learn to ask, not: ‘How is church life to be fitted into my plans (for myself or my family)?’ but: ‘How do we fold our lives into the life of the church?’”
Topics: Monthly Resources