It’s the first session of day one at Orange Conference 2016. Andy Stanley has just taken the stage. It is always a special treat to listen to Andy speak. Today Andy is talking about the benefits of the local church and how it can instill things in our lives that can’t be instilled anywhere else in the world. The church does and teaches us so much as followers of Christ.
Here are some things the church does for us:
- The church informs our conscience. We learn to forgive and confess in church. We learn that purity paves the way to intimacy. The church shapes our conscience. Every single week, we are shaping the conscience of a person for the rest of their lives.
- The church instills a sense of purpose in us. The church will help you find your passions and dreams.
- The church provides context for lifelong friendships. You will meet people in church who will end up having lifelong relationships with you. This is why the small group model is so important. When a kid’s best friends are at church, they will want to be there. If they don’t have relationships built at church, they won’t want to be there. Don’t attend a church that teaches your children to hate church.
- The church serves as a window into God’s activity in the world. When we serve with the church, go on missions trips, and play a part in outreach opportunities, we get a view of God working in areas outside of our normal lives. It is life-changing and perception-altering.
- The church teaches us how to be generous. The church will show you how to be generous, even if you aren’t a generous person. Rich people aren’t generous. Generous people are generous. Giving is a learned behavior. Church is a place that will teach you how to understand that everything belongs to God and we simply get to be managers of it.
With all of these things in mind, we can easily conclude that following Jesus will make your life better and make you better at life.
The church provides the strongest argument for the dignity of individuals and for human rights. Where else is anyone saying that you are made in the image of God and have intrinsic value rather than ascribed value?
As church leaders, we need to always keep in mind that we have been given a great responsibility to invest these things in the lives of the people we are given oversight of. It is not a small task. It is a BIG deal.