As a pastor, it’s funny to admit this, but I used to be one of those Christians who thought they didn’t need church. I never had much use for religion and especially for religious people. Still don’t. But I’ve always enjoyed my relationship with God and knew, somehow, that I wanted to go deeper. It took me 31 years to find a church powerful and healthy enough to make me understand why I needed church and help me to discover that God is so much better than the religions we try to pin on Him.

Now I understand that I need church. Let me share why you need it, too:

1. We’re not meant to live life alone.

God designed us humans to live in community with each other. We need friends and meaningful connections in order to get the most out of life. Finding a group of like-minded, positive, Christ-centered friends can make a lot of difference in the quality of your life.

2. We’re not meant to go unchallenged.

None of us are perfect and we all have room to improve. And just like people aren’t perfect, Christian friendships aren’t perfect, either. But what you can expect is that if your life is veering off course, your Christian friends will call you on it. The Bible tells us, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” It stings to hear corrective words sometimes, but true friends will love you enough to tell you what you don’t want to hear.

3. We need to get pushed into the deep end.

Good teaching makes you think hard about your life, your relationships and your journey with Jesus. Left to our own devices, we tend to go no deeper in our spirits than saying, “Bless you!” when someone sneezes and dropping quarters in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmastime. That’s not enough. A good church will expose you to the kind of teaching that sends you back to your Bible six times in the following week to learn more. It will challenge you to change a behavior that’s been nagging at your soul. It will prompt you to pray harder, deeper and stronger. It will feed your mind, emotions and spirit. It will leave you wanting more. Many Christians settle for an experience that’s got all the substance of a prime-time sitcom. Don’t be one of those Christians.

4. It will help you find your purpose.

Believe it or not, your ultimate calling in life is not to finish that report at the office or get to the bottom of the laundry hamper. Every single day, God has a job for you that no one else can do. Every week He has an agenda for you. And in your lifetime, He has an ultimate purpose that He wants you to achieve. Going from day to day just trying to get through is not what life is about. God went to a lot of trouble to specifically design you just the way you are to do something, something great, beyond your hopes and dreams, something no one else can do. A good church will not only help you figure out what that thing is, it will help you achieve it.

My question for you is this: If you go to church, why do you go? And if you don’t go to church, why not?

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