These last few weeks I’ve been involved in some interesting discussions which have led me to begin to wonder why certain people go to church and the motives behind it.
Obviously there are many different reasons why people go to church. Sometimes it’s for fellowship, or to fulfil a social need, for some it’s a sense of duty – “I’ve been brought up in church and it’s important to go” – for some young people it is a case of being “dragged” to church by well-meaning parents and guardians (been there, done that when I was younger!). But I’d like to point out a few things that distinguish the church from any other gathering.
Firstly, I’d like to point out that the church was and is God’s idea and creation. Most people think it is a man-made institution through which some seemingly learned people maintain control over others. And perhaps this may well have been the case in the past but that was not the original intention.
Eph 4:11 “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.” Notice He Himself ‘gave’ or ‘set’ leaders in place for the building up of the body. In fact, in Hebrews 5:4 it says that no man takes this honour unto himself but he who is called of God.
Secondly, the church is described as the “the House of God, the ground and pillar of truth”. (1 Tim 3:15). The most distinguishing fact that separates the church from any other gathering in my opinion is the presence of God. In order to fully comprehend this let us examine the experience of the Children of Israel in the wilderness after leaving Egypt. They didn’t have fancy buildings, fancy equipment or paraphernalia but boy did they have something more! Here are a few examples:
-Psalm 78:72 “So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands”
-Deut 29:5 “I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandal has not worn out…”
-Ps 105:41 “ He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river”
-Ps 78 14 “In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire!”
They had God’s provision, protection, preservation and insight. That’s what being in church is all about; this is what the presence of God can do in your life. In my opinion, Church without the presence of God can be akin to a political rally!
The difference between success and failure is information (according to Dr Mike Murdock). It is therefore important where you get your information from. There is only really one truth, and the trick is to determine where we pitch our tent.
Peace and Blessings.
Dr Joseph Omofuma (Pastor)
Grace Community Church