Why Do You Need the Church?
This Fall we are asking members of our congregation to respond to questions like the following: “Why does St. Timothy’s matter to me?” “Why do I need the church?” “What one moment best exemplifies what this church is for you?”
As I asked myself this question, I realized that I had several answers that led to other answers. My gut reaction is that I need this church because I desperately need a group of people who have been commanded by Jesus to love me—no matter what. We live in a society that loves me very conditionally. People in general love me if I meet their expectations. They love me if I produce something for them. They love me if I love them. All of which means that I risk losing their love if I don’t meet their expectations, produce for them, or love them. In contrast, the church is trying to love me without conditions. They are trying to love me, despite all my flaws, because I am made in God’s image and have God given value—warts and all.
I need a community that loves me that much. But then I realize that I also need the church because I need a group of people who will support me in loving others as I have been loved. Being part of a community that loves me as I am inspires me to be part of a mission that is trying to share that love with others. I realize that I can’t do this on my own. I need support and encouragement from people who share the same mission. I need people who will hold me accountable to loving as I have been loved. I need people who will help me see my blind spots and thus challenge me to expand my capacity to love.
I need a community that loves me. I also need a church that wants to share a common mission. But then I realized that the reason I need the church most of all is that it reminds me that God is the source of the love I receive and the love I give. Every Sunday when I gather with the church around the Lord’s Table, I realize my life is ultimately sustained by God. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). God first loved us. We then love one another. Our love for one another then moves us to love all people.
Why do you need this church—or any other—for that matter? If you feel so moved, would you be willing to record your answer in a 30—60 second video and send it to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we can share it? It doesn’t need to be polished. Just speak from your gut. If you don’t want to go the video route, how about a brief written message, or even one line? Let us pray that the church will continue to sustain us in God’s mission in the world.