Thursday, February 4, 2010

Who Needs Church?

We had a special guest at our staff meeting yesterday. His name is Allen Hunt, host of the Allen Hunt Show, which airs locally on AM 750 on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Allen's show blends faith and "real life," and is one of the most interesting call-in shows on the air today. MUCH more intriguing than Sean Hannity, if you ask me.

As business leader and author Patrick Lencioni once said, "We don't need to learn more and become more educated. What we really need are reminders." And, that's what Allen did for all of us in attendance yesterday.

A few days ago, Allen was talking on-air about the report that had come out stating that President Obama had only attended church three times in his first year in office. This is a man who attended church in Chicago quite regularly over the previous 20 years. But, having become the "most important" official in the world has evidently precluded him from being an active part of the church.

Allen said callers came flooding in. Some said they were "proud" to have a President who didn't go to church, who didn't "need" God, and who was "his own" man.

But, Allen said the majority of callers were so-called Christians who said they didn't believe Obama needed church, just like they didn't need church. "All I need is Jesus," many of them said. "As long as I have Jesus in my life, I don't need church."

Really? I mean, if that was true, would Jesus had left the church for us? Would he have changed Simon's name to Peter, saying, "Upon this rock I will build my church"? The church is known as the Bride of Christ. It's the body of Christ. And, as Allen pointed out, in the New Testament, the church is referenced as family more than 200 times.

All that said, here are some things Allen shared with us:
  • For someone who has accepted Christ, church is not an elective. It is essential. Giving up church would be the equivalent of giving up your family or oxygen.
  • Max Lucado said, "The church is God's forever family."
  • Church and faith are team sports, not individual ones.
  • Love is both a unifying and separating force. It unifies those who belong to Jesus, but sets us apart from the world.
  • People WILL find any substitute for a loving family!
The evidence that God has left for us revealing His plan for the church, as you may guess, is in His Word - the Bible. Time after time, we see the believers engaging in authentic community with one another - unity, fellowship, sharing, and communion. This unity has a name: koinonia. It's when Christ's followers engage with one another, sharing in his sufferings, in his glory, in his godly nature, in the breaking of bread, in teaching, in serving, in loving.

Allen added tons of other insights, but one more I'll mention briefly is this: we are God's poem. Each of us is only a letter or punctuation mark. If it's just a few of us, we may be able to form a word or phrase. But, when all of us come together - and become the church - God forms a beautiful Masterpiece that is unlike anything else on earth. And, that was His intent from the beginning.

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